Progress Report: Cypress Middle School ‘Red Zone’ Mural

So if you’re wondering where we’ve been the past few weeks…we have been working with the students at Cypress Middle School to execute a design for the mural we will be painting for their ‘Red Zone’ afterschool program. One of our main goals for this project is to produce a mural that the students are heavily involved with and will be able to interact with for years to come. We had multiple in-class brainstorming sessions before we visited the school on how to interact with the kids and to figure out the most effective ways of communicating and collaborating with them. When we actually went to the school, we came up with a few ideas to engage with the kids and get them interested in our project—we had our own sort of ‘mural tour’ where we displayed and discussed various murals around the country to get them inspired and educate them on different examples of what a mural can be. In another attempt to get them involved, we made sketchbooks, which we first drew in ourselves, then distributed to the students to allow them to collaborate and record some of their own ideas about the sort of imagery they are drawn to. However, one of the most valuable aspects of these meetings seemed to be what we gained from the one-on-one and group discussions that we had with the kids about what they expect to see in the mural and actually getting the chance to hangout and spend time with them.

From these brainstorming sessions, we were able to extract overall themes such as ‘shoot for the stars,’ ‘go for the gold,’ ‘make it shine,’ ‘around the world,’ and ‘imagine that.’ Going off of those themes, we broke into groups to come up with preliminary design proposal ideas, reference material an imagery to compile into a potential design for the mural. After meeting again as a class and sharing the different designs, the class decided on the theme ‘Imagine the places you’ll go!’ Since then, it has been a huge group effort to put together the collage and finalize major design decisions. Similar to the process of the campus mural, we all agreed on scale, placement, and content and were constantly printing, cutting, pasting and resizing images. A major component of our design is including the seven continents with recognizable figures and landmarks in each, so the class teamed up to find images for each and then all agreed on them from there. We were in a slight time crunch to get the design done at first, but we managed to finish it up in class last Tuesday! I certainly think our hard work paid off and the design will transfer extremely well on the wall in the Red Zone.

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