Like music bares the soul of the musician, like dance shares the individual vulnerabilities of the dancer, like the stage is home for the actor – the art of mural-making reaches far beyond that of words. Murals express personal feelings and beliefs, explore cultural heritages, and send messages that are common amongst all people – things that mere words cannot adequately explain because they communicate in the universally understood language of art.
Art makes us feel. Murals tell stories: personal, political, social, and cultural. We don’t need to speak the same language in order to understand a mural. We simply need to see it and feel it.
Schools can benefit from this language represented by murals, and should use it to bridge cultures within their walls through its use. Students can learn of cultures of other students through the creation of murals, thus developing a foundation of understanding and appreciation for others. Where there is understanding, there is peace and friendship. How, then, can your school explore the use of murals that share cultures? Below are a few ideas:
- Visit these websites to get some cultural ideas and backgrounds of murals:.
- Think about where murals could be placed in your school: hallways, cafeterias, common areas, auditoriums, gymnasiums, libraries, entry areas, art wings of the school, classrooms, etc..
- Decide how to get students involved: making of the murals, where murals should be placed in the school, types of murals, what story or message the murals should send, etc..
- Invite parents, community members, news media, etc. to view the murals – both in-process and finished..
- Have students cover the mural-making in a news article for the school newspaper or website. Take pictures..
- Interview students involved AND students viewing the mural for their thoughts and opinions on the mural and the process. Allow students to share the story or message of the mural with other students..
- Take a tour of the school when the murals are completed, and then discuss what students saw and learned..
Studying and reflecting on murals from many cultures and times
in history can give us a richer understanding of the stories
of peoples, past and present.
For ideas about how murals have been used for race relations and bridge building, check out the following: Jubilee Door Exhibit