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Over the past 11 weeks the mural class at Seattle University has been creating a mural for Bailey Gatzert Elementary School on 12th Ave and East Yesler Way. We have done a great many things to reach the final product. First we, as a class, decided that we needed to ask the students of Bailey Gatzert a couple of questions so that we may begin to understand what the students see on a daily basis in and around their neighborhood. So we went to some art classes at Bailey Gatzert and asked the students to draw their responses to the questions and in the end we collected more than a hundred images.
Soon after that each of us in the class started to draw out own version of the mural and then we talked amongst ourselves what we thought worked and what did not. After that process we started to create a larger mock mural after which we had three faculty members come and give us their opinions on what they liked and didn’t like. When the faculty members left the class thought about the suggestions and decided that there were some definite changes that needed to be done. In the end those suggestions changed the mural and in the end helped to create a mural that we are all happy to have made.
After we had created a second mock mural the class was to do their own color study, meaning painting a small version of the mural, so that we could choose the colors in which to paint the large scale mural. Following the mural color study we chose the one that we thought would be most successful and made some slight changes to make the mural that you see down below.
I think one area that we had a hard time trying to figure out were the eight circular discs that are located throughout the mural. We all knew that we wanted to acknowledge the different cultures that are at Bailey Gatzert and so our first thought was to use motifs from each culture. Thinking that would be a good way to show each culture but it turns out that some of the motifs we chose were not accurate depictions of the culture. Then we tried changing the motifs but at a certain point we thought to use people to depict each culture. So we researched each culture and the people who have had a great impact on the people; we also decided that we wanted to use use local heroes to help instill pride in the neighborhood and school. In the end we not only used national and local heroes we also used heroes that are located in Bailey Gatzert Elementary School. Here is the list of people that we painted in the eight discs: Chris Patrick, 2nd grade teacher; Principal Greg Imel; Barbara Dixon, Kindergarten teacher; Sheiko Nagawo, 4th grade teacher; Chief Seattle, founder of Seattle; Trung Sisters, Vietnamese Queens who protected Vietnam from China; Wing Luke, Chinese Activist; Roberto Maestros, Latino activist and founder of “El Centro de la Raza”.
To celebrate and share the mural we planned a BBQ at Bailey Gatzert Elementary School on June 20, 2011 where we invited the community to come and see the mural for the first time outside. Though small the BBQ was a great success and everyone enjoyed the mural.
“I would like to conclude with the final step of the mural process which is dependent on the acceptance and pride which the community takes in the mural, I hope that it will stand here for many years to come, to remind us that it takes curiosity to get to know one another and build bridges, the ambition to reach out and talk with your neighbor, the creativity to problem solve and find commonality, all of which are ways of reminding ourselves that we are community.” -Danila Rumold, Art professor at Seattle University.
Bailey Gatzert is a very diverse school in terms of the languages that are spoken on a daily basis; there are seven different languages spoken, spanning several different countries and cultures. The student’s and their families at Bailey Gatzert Elementary come from countries such as Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, China, and various countries located in Central America.
The students from the mural class at Seattle University came to the conclusion that each of the seven languages needed to have a place on the mural. The class as a whole decided on four words to help inspire the students of Bailey Gatzert Elementary: Community, Curiosity, Creativity, and Ambition will be translated into the seven languages spoken. Each word with have their own banner/ray.
In the process of creating the mural all the students had to do a color study of the mural. That just means that everyone had to choose a scheme of colors; for example a split-complementary scheme which could be the colors red, blue-green, and yellow-green or a triadic color scheme of the primary colors (red, blue, and yellow). Once their mural had been painted the murals were placed in front of the class and everyone discussed what they liked about the mural and what they thought needed work.
We then changed what was discussed and on the second day of viewing all the murals we voted for the one that we thought would be the best for the 8 X 28 ft mural at Bailey Gatzert. The color study that the class chose is the last image in the slideshow.
In our latest readings of Towards a People’s Art and in our own experiences developing this design for Bailey Gatzert, we’ve learned about the beginnings of public mural art as a collaborative, community-driven process.
Tonight, the Central District Public Art Project (CDPAP) will have its second meeting to continue its own planning process for art in the Central District–Bailey Gatzert and Seattle U’s own neighborhood. All are invited to come and be a part of the process!
When: April 28, 6:30-8:30 pm
Where: Central Area Senior Center (500 30th Ave S, Seattle).
It should be a great chance to learn more about the neighborhood on the whole and to see what we’ve been learning about public art planning come to life even more.
Read more about CDPAP after the jump… (more…)
I finally got everything together and was able to get the mural lecture onto youtube!
If you follow this link each part of the video should be in sequence from 1-5. Just click on uploads in the right corner and you should be able to see each video. http://www.youtube.com/user/mochashakeakan. Sorry it took so long!