“It’s beautiful. It made me cry,” said Santa Clara Community Day School Principal Deborah Bauer. She still tears up a little when she thinks of the mural that now occupies one wall of the school’s main room.
“We have a pretty stark campus and so to have any beauty contributed from outside, to be recognized, it means a lot,” continued Bauer. “I was just really astounded. I’m always impressed by the level of talent that kids have. We under expect from our kids and the things they produce are so amazing if we just let them go.”
The approximately 16 foot by 8 foot mural was created by the artists in the Advanced Placement (AP) Studio Art class at Wilcox High School. Guided by teacher Heather Morton, the students came up with the idea for the mural and then painted it onto the wall at Santa Clara Community Day.
The art wall was unveiled on Aug. 14. It was commissioned by Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) Board Member Mark Richardson.
Richardson volunteers at Santa Clara Community Day and has a son in the AP art class at Wilcox. His son helped contribute to the mural.
“Artists create beautiful things and don’t really know sometimes what other people see when they look at their art,” said Richardson. “This one is very much indicative of hope and very iconic California stuff like the California poppies and the rising sun and ocean.”
Santa Clara Community Day is an alternative education school for students who have been expelled from other schools. To many, the campus is stark — Richardson says that’s why he felt like this mural was so important.
“Often, the places you see where people are most desperate are very plain or ugly structures. They don’t say ‘I love you’ to the people that go there,” said Richardson.
“Now in the main room where they have meetings, where they eat lunch, where they play ping pong and hang out when they’re not in class, they have this giant mural that was made by kids. Designed and made by kids,” continued Richardson.
For Richardson, this is just the start. He has already commissioned the AP art class at Wilcox to create another mural, this one for Wilson High School.
“With all the things we read about in the news daily, as adults we should think about how this affects our kids and we should take an extra moment to help them out, especially the ones that don’t have great lives,” said Richardson.
“Whether it’s doing something like a mural or doing something like saying hello to that scary kid in the hoodie who actually is far more scared than you are. We could all take a moment every day and try and do that,” continued Richardson.
“Kids doing art for kids, what could be better?” asked Bauer.