Coloring Their World Grant Students Let Imaginations Soar with Mural Project
Byline: Carolyn Waller
Is that Albert Einstein sticking out his tongue? And what about that flying piano with no legs?
They are just part of a mural being painted at Grant High School in Fox Lake. Art students are painting the school's first mural with hopes of making a new long, beige hallway a bit more interesting for those passing by.
The job is not easy on a canvas of wall blocks a bit more than 21 feet wide and 16 feet tall.
Layers and layers of acrylic paint are used and frequent touch- ups are needed to fill in some of the divots that naturally exist in the wall.
"This is probably the first one in a series," said art teacher Chris Carlson, who has at Grant for five years.
Before renovations, there were lockers and entrances to classrooms, with less wall space in the hall.
Students are drawing famous historic characters like Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Martin Luther King Jr., Edgar Allan Poe, William Shakespeare and Amelia Earhart amid large white columns.
"We wanted to put all these people together as a symbol of education," said senior Ray Blasa. He and Matt Janowicz are working on the mural for their semester grade in Painting II.
Next to the better-known characters is a darker image of life without education, represented by crumbling columns and a naked man slumped over an extinguished outdoor fire.
Carlson said painting the mural is better than any book lesson because students must think about the process.
"They never realize how long it takes to create a work of art," he said, adding that the project started in late fall and is expected to be completed in February.
The student artists also learn about criticism, he said. Sometimes other students offer unsolicited advice.
Blasa says he can tune out passers-by wearing his headphones and listening to rhythm and blues music. …