The process of the cultural Cardinal mural

Down the EL hallway in SHS, students from the art club are transforming a slab of beige wall into a mural featuring multiple countries and the SHS cardinal on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 to 4:00 p.m.

“I look forward to just looking at it. I am excited,” sophomore member of the art club Sarah Mendoza said. “It’s a cool concept, and it’s cool to think that I am working on something (with many other people) that is going to be here for a while.”

The object of the task for the art students is to paint a mural done by EL teachers Amy Peddie and Brianna Kompara’s classes on a wall alongside those teachers’ classrooms. The mural itself is representative of numerous cultures and their fusion at SHS.

According to art teacher Breanna Bierod, her goal is to help students by facilitating where she can, while keeping the project student lead as much as possible.

“I want this to be mostly kid drawn, because I could sit there and I could paint the whole thing myself, but I am trying to leave opportunities for more people to come in, so they can feel like they are a part of it,” Bierod said.

While Bierod let the art students draw the actual mural, she refined the mural drawn by the EL students. She did this by downloading some images of countries and the Cardinal’s head and utilizing online programs to put the images together.

After compiling them, Bierod gave the students a copy of the compiled images and then placed a grid over it and students placed a grid on the wall. Bierod says this helps allow multiple students to work at once.

“(The grid) makes it easier to transfer because it is a lot harder if you free hand because you can’t stand back and look at it (to) see if it looks right,” Bierod said.

Since the sketching is complete, students have begun painting the colorless outline of the mural. Eventually, the mural is planned to include “Fly as One” in multiple languages using stencils or some other kind of lettering technique, according to Bierod.

According to Mendoza, art club meetings for the mural entail congregating with the members of art club to brainstorm ideas and talk about what they’ll do during that time.

Senior Jennifer Lemons, a member of the art club, says that members have to manage their time to ensure they have enough time to set up and to clean up without spilling paint.

She hopes that through putting the mural on the wall, EL students coming from different countries will be able to see it and feel more welcomed in the Southport community.

“It’s actually quite interesting because I have never been a part of something this big, and it is quite helpful for the EL students because they get to learn new ways to do art,” Lemons said.

SHS principal Brian Knight mentions that he, alongside other administrators, ultimately selected this mural to be painted on the wall, because it contained specific aspects they looked for, which is a display of multiple cultures and a connection to Southport.

“I think both of those were important to us,” Knight said. “We wanted to represent the kids, but we also realize that as staff members and students, Southport opened in 1991, so it was here long before any of us and it will be here long after all of us.”

Knight hopes that the mural will help future students realize how many cultures are present at the school, and through experiencing these cultures, provide a new perspective to lead into the real world after leaving SHS.

Knight mentions that he would like the mural to not only represent future students but inspire them to create something similar to the mural as well.

“To me, that is more of what we are trying to accomplish as a school and what we want to accomplish as a school, rather than just purchasing something to stick up there in the hallway,” Knight said.