Wed, June 26

School mural promotes acceptance<br><i>Purpose of MUHS wall painting goes beyond art</i>

VVN/Philip Wright

Primary accept-ance of students for one another is the object of this wall mural. Advanced art students at Mingus Union are painting the wall to help break down barriers that cause some students to segregate themselves. David Martinez, left, Megan Mongini and Ashley Christy worked on the mural Wednesday morning.

Groups of students of like minds and interests often stay together -- in their hallway. It could be the "jocks," or some other group characterized by a label that sets them apart.

Like many schools, Mingus Union has its hallway system of social grouping. But some art students are trying to change that.

They are painting a mural titled "The Wall of Primary Acceptance." Its purpose is to help change some of the ideas that lead to students segregating themselves into groups.

"We've got these different hallways in the school," art teacher Tyler Novak said. "But most of the students don't want to be labeled."

"The murals are to help students feel comfortable in any part of the school," Novak said, explaining that more murals will be added to the school's halls.

He said the situation is serious enough that some students won't go to certain parts of the school because they aren't part of a certain group.

Novak pointed out that the first "acceptance" mural is painted in primary colors, and each face in the mural is that of a present or past Mingus student.

He said he believes that the majority of students don't want things to be the way they are. "They want everyone to be accepted."

Three of Novak's advanced art students agree. They are working on the hallway mural.

"I want to be remembered for something at this school," senior Megan Mongini said. "I wanted to put everything I had into this wall."

Ashley Christy, also a senior, has similar feelings. "This is my last year," she said. "A lot of people come and go through the school, and it's a way to remember everyone."

Senior David Martinez, who is painting the background and outer edges of the mural, feels the painting will mean something different to each person who views it. "Everyone likes art," he said. "When they see it, they'll give it their own interpretation."