The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

From student passion to professional precision

Student mural painted over in main hallway
Munira Khalif
The new art mural displayed in the main hallway, drawn by a privately hired company portrays generic side profiles in flat color.

Want to find the best way to promote student expression and achievement?
Well, painting over student artwork is not the way to do it.
Now, students are upset about an increasing resistance to creativity and expression within the school, and teachers are frustrated about a lack of communication.

I walked into school one morning and saw a blank wall of red paint and some layers of pink and purple covering what used to be an intricate mural front and center upon walk-in. It was the first thing students, teachers, staff, and visitors saw when they walked in the main entrance.

Now, simple letters spelling out “Annandale Atoms” as well as some generic side profiles in flat color took residence at the prime location.
It all screamed ‘Sterile’.

A mural highlighting diversity at AHS painted in 2015 by 2019 alum, Stephanie Le, was recently painted over to make way for a privately hired company to paint a new, stark, and dull mural. The new mural was approved and ordered at the end of last school year, following the fizzle-out of the mural club due to lack of school support and overall resistance from administration.

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“Kids were definitely upset. It was probably one of the few things that has happened in the school where kids approached me about it before I had the chance to broach the subject with them,” said Carmen Lucas the art department chair. “Largely because it was done in a very public hallway, but I hadn’t been up there to even see that.”

The original mural did have a viewpoint that has shifted context from 2015 to today.
“When we’re talking about this mural in particular, we have to understand that the context was seen differently [now] than from the point that it was painted,” said Lucas.

“It was painted with the intent of being a mural that celebrated the diversity of Annandale, but here we are six years later, and how we depict diversity and go about that topic [now] is done very differently than it was six years ago especially when you take into account all the social movements that have happened in those six years.”

The original mural did have its problematic elements. The “key to success” being dropped into the students’ hands was a white hand, leading some to believe that it was representing the “white savior” complex. Although this was not the intent of the mural, many people viewed it as so.
“There were elements of that mural that may have made sense at the time, but didn’t make sense to a lot of people walking these halls today,” said Lucas.

While the mural had its issues, students still felt blindsided by the abrupt repainting.

“I thought it was strange that students weren’t asked to replace the mural, and that they made the decision to go through a company when it was such a simple design that could have been easily replicated by students,” said NAHS President Ren Lyons.
“There was definitely some surprise and hurt, I would say, mixed together,” said Lucas.

The replacing of a mural in the school was not the main issue, but that student artwork highlighting diversity was being replaced with outsourced art with little meaning and failing to include the art department students and teachers in the process.
“I don’t mind that there’s a new mural on top of this mural and I like that we have visual elements in our hallways that help tell who Annandale is,” said Lucas.

“I think at the end of the day, that’s the most important thing here, not exactly how we go about it, but that students’ voices are visually represented throughout the school.”

“I feel that they should have at least reached out to art teachers and I think NAHS would’ve been the perfect organization to reach out to if they wanted to repaint an old mural,” said Lyons.

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About the Contributors
Morgan Milman
Morgan Milman, Academics Editor
Senior Morgan Milman is in her first year of journalism as the Academics Editor. She plays for the varsity volleyball team and dives for the swim & dive team. In her free time she likes to paint, read, hangout with friends; she plans to study environmental policy in college.
Munira Khalif
Munira Khalif, Co-Arts Editor
Sophomore Munira Khalif  is in her first year of The A-Blast as a Co-editor for the Arts page. She loves to do activities in school so  she participates in  Model UN, AWC, and Tennis. Some of the pastimes she enjoys are reading, listening to music, and spending time with family and friends.

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