The gym in Albion’s Carl I. Bergerson Middle School is sporting two new murals above its bleachers.
The murals were completed in the 2019-20 school year by eighth-graders in Mrs. Feder’s art class and have just been installed this fall.
Feder and her eighth-graders brainstorm projects each year, first identifying places in the school that need more color and then narrowing their choices down by how many people will see the murals.
“Once the location is set, we start to develop designs for the space,” Feder said. “Sometimes we will take multiple ideas and combine them to create our final drawing.”
Feder explains that giving the students a chance to leave their mark is important not just for the students who are preparing to enter the high school, but for the sixth graders who just entered the middle school.
“Eighth-grade art classes paint all of the murals and as the sixth and seventh graders watch the murals come to life, it builds excitement for the day they will be able to paint murals and leave their mark in the school,” Feder explains.
For Feder and her students, it’s about community.
“Painting the murals plays into each student's strengths, whether it be drawing and design or painting edges and detail work,” Feder said. “We build a camaraderie in the class, where we all help each other out and work toward a common goal.”
The projects take a lot of planning, from cleaning up the image and experimenting with color schemes to voting the color schemes and presenting the top designs to the principal for final approval.
“We have painted the first-floor main hallway to the cafeteria with silhouettes of all of the activities offered at the middle school,” Feder said. “We have also painted mural panels that now hang in the cafeteria, depicting the district’s mission statement and values.”
While there are generally one or two mural projects in the work for the current eighth-grade class, this year the coronavirus has posed a bit of a challenge.
Currently, Feder and her class are considering painting stall doors for the bathrooms, potential new signage for the press box on the football field and some other hallway murals.