When you first enter the freshman hallway, not a lot catches the eyes. With beige lockers aligned along white walls, there isn’t anything to look at. But when you move even further down the conformed hall, there’s a wall to your left that catches your eye. The eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg loom down on you while luminous fireworks spark into an industrial city. Each stroke carefully placed by students united by the Art Club.
Each Thursday after school, members gather to the Art Department, where art is usually taught by Art teacher Tyler Fewell. But in the club, the control is overtaken by students.
“It obviously has a fair bit of alignment with my teaching content,” Fewell said, “and seemed like a great opportunity to provide more spaces for students to interact within the Art Department.”
The Art Club has brought a link between students that have a passion for art but cannot express it in a class.
“I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to meet with non-art students that I would not have gotten a chance to interact with otherwise,” Fewell said.
Before the Art Club began painting murals and leading on their own, Fewell guided the members to make a mark on the school. Letting them use the supplies and inspiration for their murals.
“It was encouraging to get to help shepherd the students responsible for it from the beginning of the ideas for it, all the way through to its end,” Fewell said.
Ayesha Jeddy and Jaden Gootjes, those responsible, saw a real potential for the Art Club in the fall. After a couple of months, they had the motivation to start it back up and found the Art Club having more opportunities and members.
Ayesha found enjoyment in the art club, combining her passion for art and connecting with students through similar interests.
“I think it’s just fun to talk to everyone,” Ayesha said, “and kind of do something that doesn’t have that much stress involved. You’re just helping out the school, in a way.”
By being involved in the Art Club, they’ve contacted teachers and faculty to know where and what kind of murals to paint in the dull spots. One mural that the Art Club has completed in the freshmen hallway has a meaning that connects between two classes.
“I think it was Great Gatsby,” Ayesha said, “because it’s in the middle of Labenz who teaches history, and then Potts wanted to find a way to incorporate both of them together. So they were like ‘the Great Gatsby is historical fiction, and it ties into both of them.’”
With each mural, the members are free to express the concept whichever way they want, but that leaves the students with too much freedom at some points.
“I think it’s challenging in the way,” Ayesha said, “[because] it’s open-ended, and we can just decide what we want to do. Also, [there’s] kind of some pressure [because] it’s permanent.”
Jaden, that was a part of reviving the club, has a passion for art and wanted to be more involved with it outside of just classes.
“I’ve always loved art,” Jaden said. “And doing something after school beyond art classes seemed fun. I was sort of low on extracurriculars, and it was nice to be more involved in my school.”
With many students having the same situation participating in different or no art classes at the moment. Jaden believes this is a great opportunity for other kids to convey an adoration for art.
“For students who don’t have room in their schedule for art classes,” Jaden said, “I think art club would be a good place for them to explore their hobbies and interests. For students lacking extracurriculars who aren’t as interested in sports, this could be an excellent option.”
With even more members like Jaden and Ayesha making their mark on the walls, they plan to continue making more murals in the future, inspiring students around the whole school by replacing a plain-looking wall with something memorable.
“So many people responded positively with requests to paint blank walls,” Jaden said, “and we’d love to paint the school more. It’s too bad we only had time for one this year. We hope that the art club will also become more popular, and we’ll have more help after people see the completed mural.”