As a student in the Mariner High School Art department, I feel honored to say that in the past several weeks I participated in one of the most important projects that this classroom has completed during its history. For nearly two months, our classroom worked on a mural to express what is so underrepresented in this community: some of Everett’s finest artistic minds and creative youth. We worked as a team on a total of 42 panels that will be installed at the Mariner Park & Ride bus stop. There was never a moment when we were not working as a team, but this did not limit our room for individual creativity; the production of each panel required thoughtful, original input from multiple artists who brought their ideas forward to produce something with consummate prestige.
Community Transit approached our advanced art class this year with an opportunity that most of us had never come close to having before: to work freely on a lasting piece of artwork that would represent our creative roles in this community for years to come. The unique thing about this project was that as much as we felt free to create something almost completely from scratch, we also felt the pressure of knowing that our art would serve as a demonstration of the creative dynamics of not only our school, but of our entire community.
In the planning stages of this project, our class started out with multiple different ideas that were eventually narrowed down to four major themes: Surrealism, Evolution of Art & Transit, One Way or Another and Transit Through the Ages. All of these themes synthesized different modes of transportation with different styles of art, allowing us to meet the needs of Community Transit while demonstrating our creativity as artists. Surrealism features extraordinary subjects in surreal settings. Evolution of Art & Transit and Transit Through the Ages depict the evolution of transportation over time, as well as various different styles of art. One Way or Another expresses transportation since the beginning of time through modern silhouettes in vibrant settings.
From this experience, our class learned a lot about being mature, individual artists. It will surely be rewarding to see our work age with us as we continue to strive for nothing but the best as creative thinkers. We hope that through the completion of this project, we can encourage more recognition for the artistic youth of this community. The production and installment of this mural will surely last as a major impact on our lives as we grow from students to leaders. Additionally, the production of this mural gave us some real-world experience as contemporary artists - we worked with a client’s needs in mind as we exercised our artistic vision as well. This experience served as a professional example of what many of us may decide to work with in the future, while also giving us the freedom that we need as young adults.
The most important lesson that many of us have learned from our experiences in the Fine Arts department is that art is not to be defined by a sentence or by an image; art can be defined only through one’s interpretation of something new. Art is not the ability to paint well. It is not a measure of intellectual capacity. It is the freedom to let something promote thought and consciousness.
We hope that by leaving this legacy behind, we can advocate more creativity and an increased representation of a student’s artistic capacity. We hope that even after we exit the halls of our school for the very last time, art can be a universal medium through which this community’s students can interact with the world. Perhaps someday, art can become a more recognized mode of expression.
After all, art is not what you make - it’s what you make of it.