This spring, Lower School students embarked on a school-wide art project creating an outdoor 50ft-wide mural.
About the Lower School Mural This spring, Lower School students embarked on a school-wide art project creating an outdoor 50ft-wide mural, which can be found on the wall by the second basketball hoop facing the Lower School garden. The 2020-2021 theme in the Lower School art studio was Time. The mural is loosely based on this theme featuring moments and figures from the past such as Mrs. Hackley, when girls were integrated into the school, and the Hilltop’s previous inhabitants. The mural features a series of hills as the underlying image of the wall, matching the surrounding campus.
Students first observed a presentation about the connection between public art, cave art, and ancient art from around the world. Various ancient cultures were represented such as Roman, Chinese, Mayan, Egyptian, and European. Students learned that artists of the past had a collection of images and pictograms (such as Egyptian hieroglyphics) that were used repeatedly in their art. This is similar to the recurring images a particular artist will create, forming a lexicon of symbols that serves to identify their artwork. In connection to cave artists who made prints of their hands like a stencil on walls, students created a project where they traced their hand as a marker of this time in their lives, then drew their own lexicon of images within the hand.
Students practiced their artistic skills before beginning their work on the mural, completing several preliminary projects. They learned how to draw lines with a brush in order to paint symbols representing subjects learned in school like music, science, and sports. The students completed a lesson on proportion and scale where they drew images on a larger scale with the help of a grid. They also learned about positive and negative design by making stencils, cutting a shape from a sheet of oil board. Each student made a stylized tree stencil to be spray painted onto four hills of the mural, representing each of the four seasons. The mural’s first brush stroke occurred on April 26, and the work was completed on June 2, 2021.