Northwest’s missing mural will be replaced with recognition wall


Stephanie Brady

The missing Northwest mural is pictured. The loss of this mural paves way for new murals and potential.

There used to be a Viking mural in the commons by the Echo Hall, but now there is just a blank wall.

The PTSO painted over the old Viking mural over the summer to pave way for a new recognition wall, which features people who donated over $1,000 to Northwest High. This idea was started two years ago under the fundraising program “Fund the Viking Voyage.”

As a collaboration with the administrators and art department, the recognition wall will be painted by Northwest students. It will look like a viking ship and display the names of prominent donors.

“Showcasing these businesses and individuals just outside our front doors delivers a powerful message of gratitude for their contribution to our school’s success,” PTSO president Stephanie Brady said.

The recognition wall will become the newest edition to Northwest’s large collection of murals decorating the halls. These murals become like time-capsules of the era they were made.

“They add color and imagery to our walls,” art teacher Beth Herrick said, “(and) they also tell a story about our school culture, spirit and what our students are learning (at) the time they were painted. The artwork adds warmth and softens the rough texture of our cement block walls; without murals, the school would feel very sterile and uninviting.”

Some of these murals are painted by students so that there will be a greater sense of community attached to these artworks. The student is given a chance to leave a more lasting mark on the school through art. Some murals were painted approximately 20 years ago; due to familiarity, community and student contributions, losing a mural can be bittersweet.

“There’s murals everywhere–it’s a part of who we are,” counselor Elizabeth Lucas said. “I know it’s kind of sad to lose our murals.”

Some address the purposeful ephemeral nature of murals and view this as a part of the lifespan of public art.

“Artwork that is painted on a wall in a public space has a sense of impermanence to it,” Herrick said. “For various reasons, murals have a shorter lifespan than a painting on a canvas. It should be understood by the artist that when they paint a mural on a public building, (it) doesn’t belong to them, (and) it will eventually be painted over.”

A fresh beginning can even add liveliness to the school.

“It’s like wallpaper,” principal Ralph Kitley said. “Sometimes, you just have to change the wallpaper.”

Regardless of personal sentiment, the new mural is bound to be a new staple in the Northwest halls.

“A successful educational environment comes from a strong partnership between the school, students, parents, businesses, and the community,” Brady said. “(This is a) meaningful, permanent way to recognize (those) who go above and beyond for our school.”