The Art Club brings a sense of community to FHC one mural at a time


Alysse Calabio

A photo of the progress made to the mural so far

Each year, as school begins to dawn upon each student, the age-old debate arises once again: what folder color should be assigned to each subject? 

Although it is the middle of the year, the debate finally found its way to the Art Club while they were assigning different colors to parts of their new mural—sparking a tremendous discourse among the students, including junior Sofia Terry.

“I think a lot of kids usually debate about what subjects go with what folder color, so we tried to get the most agreed-upon answer for when we’re painting the books,” Sofia said. “We’re going to have English as yellow, math as red, history as blue, and science as green. We did have quite a debate on what colors the books should be. To be fair, though, most folders are more than those primary colors: most folders are [colors] like pink. I think that what’s going on right now is good. The other three books that we’re going to add are going to be more fun colors.”

Spread across the side wall of the media center, this discussion-provoking mural is one of many projects the art club hopes to brighten the school.

Behind the scenes of each whimsical mural is a single group of students; however, for their newest undertaking, the club had decided to take a different approach and work collaboratively; the Art Club supervisor Grace Stynes granted them independence by stepping back and letting the students coordinate on their own.

“It’s so cool because we’ve never done an all-Art Club mural before,” Stynes said. “Every person who’s in our club will have their hands on it, [but] it also means that we’re making decisions about the mural together. For ideas, we broke into groups and came up with an idea, and then presented them to the librarians. It’s been really cool to see how everybody works together and how we can take each other’s ideas and see a lot of similarities and bring magic forth.”

This collaborative method promotes teamwork and communication, enabling opportunities to gain leadership skills through members’ shared passion–art. It’s one of few occasions where the members take the lead, rather than being coordinated by an experienced adult.

We just wanted to make the library a safe space and to really show what the library can be to you and everybody else.

— Kate Franklin

“It’s about the students,” Stynes said. “They’re the ones who have to be here and see it and are in that space. This is the thing that I try to do in my classroom and in our club; [I try to] give the voice back to students: [I] put you in the leading role so you get to decide. It’s a good thing to think about as you’re growing up and moving on to your adult life, to be able to make decisions and collaborate with each other without an adult figure there to say, ‘Oh, hey, you have to listen to this person.’ I do that a little bit, but I’m also teaching them how to do it themselves.”

Working together in creating this mural has done more than just give the students a taste of independence, it has also given those in the Art Club a chance to grow closer to one another.

The mural has given students, like junior Kate Franklin, an opportunity to become better friends with peers they may not have typically talked to.

“Being with everybody in the club is super fun [and especially] meeting new people,” Kate said. “[For example, junior] Claire Mast—she’s super nice. We’ve been friends for a while, but I’ve gotten closer to her because of the Art Club, and it’s been really nice. [I’ve also become closer to] Sofia. I don’t usually talk to Sofia, so I just got to know Sofia more—it’s been fun. So [working altogether] helped me really make some friends.”

Although the mural has given the Art Club members a chance to get to know those around them, they hope that, more than anything, the mural will create an environment open to anyone—no matter who they are—to feel accepted in.

Each detail within the mural is meticulously planned in hopes of creating a community within FHC where everyone can feel safe in.

“We just wanted to make the library a safe space and to really show what the library can be to you and everybody else,” Kate said. “We’re going to paint different skin tones on the hands holding the books, and the rainbows are [representative of the] LGBTQ+ [community]. Then the books are different things that you can study inside the library. We just wanted to represent all that inside the mural.” 

Stepping into the media center, the mural brightens up the space, warmly welcoming everyone who enters.

“It’s displaying what FHC is all about and how we value inclusivity and diversity here,” Sofia said. “It brightens up the library and makes it feel more welcoming for people to come in and do their schoolwork and not feel as trapped because [sometimes] school can feel very monotonous. I feel like the great color and creativity in the space will make it more fun and enjoyable”