The Official Student-Run Newspaper of California High School

The Californian

The Official Student-Run Newspaper of California High School

The Californian

The Official Student-Run Newspaper of California High School

The Californian

Murals add flair to campus

New club was inspired by a global studies class project
The+mural+on+the+third+floor+of+the+main+building+was+painted+by+members+of+the+newly+formed+mural+club.+The+mural+was+a+product+of+a+Global+Studies+final+project+last+school+year+and+was+what+initially+brought+the+mural+club+together.
Somak Das
The mural on the third floor of the main building was painted by members of the newly formed mural club. The mural was a product of a Global Studies final project last school year and was what initially brought the mural club together.

The large mural adorning the third floor of Cal High’s main building is a striking new addition to the hallway walls.
But it was not just another group of paid contractors or volunteer team who brought to life the striking painting of a woman’s face with flowing hair highlighted by the word together in dozens of different languages.
The mural was a passion project from a few enthusiastic student artists, including juniors Naman Rudrakshi and Graciella Barco, that initially started out as a class assignment last year.
Now, this one idea for a large wall mural ballooned into a new nonprofit organizaiton known as the Mural Club, which is starting to pique the interests of everyone who wants to grow their art skills and work on similar art projects on a grander scale.
The final for the English global studies class was a project that required students to use a medium of change, such as videos, art or text, that tied together elements of social justice and contemporary issues. Rushing to come up with an idea for the final art project, Rudrakshi, now president of the Mural Club, began to think outside the box.
“We decided we [didn’t] want to do just a normal assignment,” Rudrakshi said. “I had a delusion in the middle of class, like ‘Hey, what if we just made a mural?’ Then we made a mural.”
He thought he could create a large, grand mural on one of the hallway walls. His plan to tie together social norms and cultures was to have the word “together” painted across the mural in all the different languages that represented Cal students.
This was no easy task. Fortunately, Rudrakshi found six other passionate people, who happened to be in his global studies class. The trio teamed up and resolved to make this project happen no matter the obstacles they encountered.
And the obstacles came.
First, they had to get approval from administrators to even begin such a large project. Rudrakshi and Barco dreaded the thought of a back and forth with administrators and feared it would take up their already limited time. But the approval came surprisingly quickly and the pair got started on the tedious task of receiving funding from the school’s Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA).
After some convincing, juniors Jawad Chazbek and Jason Damonte secured the funding from the PTSA for an $800 and used the money to purchase the necessary art supplies.
But the team of students had yet to run into their biggest obstacle: learning what languages are spoken by every person at Cal. To do that they surveyed every student they could find and reviewed all of the data.
“We had to do a lot of Google translating and looking at word dictionaries to make sure all of the words were accurate,” Rudrakshi said.
After coming up with the initial design for the mural on paper, the team spent four hours one day just putting 10 plywood panels on the wall so the painting isn’t directly on it. Another 18 hours over two days during the Memorial Day weekend were spent painting the mural.
Before this school year began, the team added a small plaque and covered the painting with a protective spray.
“Considering the scale of the project, I am surprised we even finished it,” Barco said.
The team passed their assignment, succeeded in bringing their idea to life and reflected on how much they enjoyed working together.
“The situations we put ourselves in were really funny and crazy, and we worked well together and were able to overcome many challenges,” Chazbek said.
After the project, Rudrakshi realized that he wanted to delve into art more and help others do the same, prompting him to create the Mural Club this year.
This club has already attracted new members that are passionate about art.
“Almost all of the original team from the mural project is now in the club,” Barco said. “The purpose of the club is to motivate others to engage more with art and develop even bigger and bolder murals.”
This promising outlook has attracted many new members to the club to join members of the original team such as Damonte, who is thrilled to be involved in large scale art projects like the hallway mural.
“I am very excited about this club,” Damonte said. “I think it is special because of how big the projects are and how much we can do. It made me realize that art can have big effects on so many different places and people.”
Chazbek, now secretary of the Mural Club, shares the same optimistic hopes for the future outreach and impact of the club.
“I want the club to have a really big legacy,” Chazbek said. “I hope it will continue into future years, and hopefully by the time we are seniors we will have many more interested people to carry on this legacy.”
The group is already working on another mural project next to the Fine Arts building, but Rudrakshi said they will be working with volunteer and art clubs to expand their endeavor.
“We want people to help give us ideas and help our purpose of making our school more representative of the community,” Rudrakshi said.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Srikar Thippavajjula, Staff Writer
Srikar Thippavajjula is a junior and is in his first year as a writer for The Californian. He is excited for his first year and hopes to improve his writing skills while learning more about journalism. When he is not working on school work or extracurriculars, you can find him reading, watching movies, or spending time with friends and family.
Somak Das, Staff Writer
Somak Das is a sophomore and joined the newspaper team to be a photographer. He enjoys watching soccer and his favorite teams are Barcelona and Spurs. He also enjoys hanging out with his friends and studying aviation. He is looking forward to developing his photography skills and meeting new people.

Comments (0)

All The Californian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *