New Mural Embraces Dreamers' Heritage
By Kim Tran
With the sounds of Latino pop music blasting in the background, bags of chips on display, and creativity depicted by colorful paints, the Dreamer’s Club at Novato High created a mural that represented their cultural heritage.
The Dreamer’s Club is a club that helps new students adjust to the settings of Novato High. Their advisors are NHS counselor Nonie Reyes and Community Liaison Cinthia Angelicola. Since last year, the club has been planning to create a mural. They received a grant from School Fuel in order to fund the completion of this project. They also gained administrative approval and support for the mural. It will be located at the front of the library, facing the entrance to the school.
Now, with the planning process done, the club has started the final stage of completing the mural. In history, murals have been used as visual representations of important events and accomplishments. The mural features a group of young people as the center of the mural with lines extending out. In the space in between lingers colorful Aztec and Mayan motifs and the background alternates between a light shade of pink and dark red. Senior Mayana Solanne Jean Charles described the mural they created.
“The mural is a lot of painting from South American and Mayan drawings,” Jean Charles said. “So we’re painting it to show us as immigrants, but showcase a support or something they can look up to. So, it’s a representation of the non-English speaking immigrants population at Novato High School.”
The Dreamers’ Club worked with a muralist to put their images onto paper. Caleb Duarte is a muralist that has created art depicting situations revolving around the refugee crisis from Central America and Mexico. For this mural, Duarte helped them draw pictures for the mural. Duarte will also put finishing touches on the mural before it is completed.
Senior Moises Estrada Morales explained what they learned about on their field trip to the Bay Area Mural Festival.
“We learned a lot of techniques and shapes and different perspectives of murals because we don’t see many murals around here,” Morales said. “So, it’s something new. It was like ‘wow, that’s cool’. We learned that we can share and show something through a mural. We can paint something really small, but the challenge is to do it really big so that everyone can see it. That’s what we learned.”
Reyes discussed her thoughts on the inspirations for the mural.
“The mural was sort of inspired by a couple of things,” Reyes said. “One of them was a desire to have a little bit more culture representation on the school site. We were also inspired by the Bay Area Mural Festival which is our first field trip and hoping just to bring a little bit of color and little bit of voice to the school-wide community. But also, it was a means to have a focus for different activities, reflection activities for the Dreamer’s Club and other people who want to participate. Most of whom are relatively new immigrants to this country, but not all. Some have been here for many, many years or were even born here. So, it’s a blend of people.”
On work days for the mural, the club gets together with food and music for an hour of painting. These days are dedicated to adding new symbols to the mural, as well as polishing it. New symbols are added in the empty space to make it more lively. Polishing involves repainting and sharpening lines. An benefit of the mural is that no one has to be an artist to paint the mural, anyone is welcome to add their own creations. Coming together on the work days unifies the club and forms a sense of community.
“You don’t have to be a great painter to be a part of the mural project, you know,” Reyes said. “So, that part’s a lot of fun. And then, sometime in April, the muralist will pick up the panels and put his touches on it.”
To the members of the Dreamer’s Club, the mural holds a special meaning to them. Angelicola feels that the mural connects to her roots.
“The image of the aztec calendar on the mural is special to me because it reminds me of my Mexican heritage and my roots. Honestly, I think that's what it comes down to, roots! If you feel connected and supported, you will have the opportunity for success. No matter where you are!”
The mural created by the Dreamer’s Club shows great representation of immigrants in the community, and signifies that they are not alone. It also represents their roots. The mural is set to be finished in May.