Drumbeats pounded through Fruit Valley Community Learning Center’s gym on Jan. 14. The entire school was gathered to witness the unveiling of a student-created mural. To celebrate, students and staff were treated to music and traditional dances by Mexica Tiahui, an Aztecan performance group.
Fruit Valley’s two fifth-grade classes spent more than a month collaborating with professional artist Rodolfo Serna to produce the mural.
Serna’s heritage is Aztecan, but the students’ own heritage and identities were the focus of the painting.
“You guys are the next generation. You are the future,” Serna told them.
That future was represented in sports, music, wildlife, nature, a cityscape, cars, children and other subjects—even emojis.
Kids generated the ideas. “They learned to work together,” said art teacher Sheila Hutchinson, who secured a grant for the project. “They problem-solved. They were very respectful of new ideas.”
Fifth-grader Daisy Iturbide Garcia said, “I thought it was really fun. It brought people together. It was teamwork.”
Serna used the students’ ideas to make a composition of the mural. “Every step of the way, [the students] were a part of it,” he said. Together, they drew and painted the 25-foot-long piece incorporating elements of Pointillism, which uses dots to form an image.
Said Serna, “It teaches kids technique. It teaches them to focus. It gives them a little bit of discipline when they have to do something specific with a brush.”
Next, he will attach the paper mural to a frame. The mural will be installed along the hallway outside the gym. The title will be “Fruit Valley mural.”
Serna explained that the mural is “a lot of different ideas coming together, so I think it’s appropriate to name it after the school.”
Daisy added, “It’s an awesome school.”