Matsumoto – Students Design

We’ve all been kids and we’ve all known them.  If you’re a marginally good person, you have warm feelings about children and childhood.  Left to their own devices, children can be equally brilliant as they can be devastating.  That quiet afternoon a child spent entertaining themselves in the other room can be reading a good book or creating their own mural in crayon on the walls.  I was a walls kid.

What I’ve learned though is the wall drawing or recess screaming is all in an effort to be heard and feel valued.  Children only feel confident when they feel heard and valued.  This particular mural process not only helps students unify as a student body but feel individual and respected.

Dr. Nguyen at Matsumoto Elementary School gets it.  She armed her Student Body Council to make the decisions and administrate a drawing competition school wide – focusing on the events, charms and mascot of the school.  Each grade was tasked its own subject and Student Body selected the winners.  This was diplomatic and very easily decided.  This yielded the most unique interpretations of the material and therefore the most stunning composition of ideas.  Although there were 7 grades (K-6), I used almost 15 drawings to create this new ball wall mural.

I literally use their drawings to create the elements within the artwork then make informed artistic decisions about color.  Regardless of the margin of change, the students feel so proud and so strongly about their work.  They own it.  That’s their feeling once it comes together.  That’s really the best maintenance program on Earth – the Community’s youngest members being advocates for this artwork throughout their lives.

Here’s the mural coming to life.

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Are you a principal who would like to empower their Student Body with a project like this?  This is a 20 ‘ by 15 ‘ ball wall which the District seals to protect from graffiti.  You’ll need a budget of at least $2,500.00, subject matter for each grade and a leadership group or staff member willing to facilitate entries.  Larger projects will cost more, smaller less.  Sealant costs extra if I’m applying.  Generally the district likes to maintain and insure this at a school.  Charter schools will differ.

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