Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District

Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District News Article

Oxford Students Inspire "Music and Tigers" Themed Mural

Jan. 31, 2023 -- Oxford Elementary School is lucky to be home to two murals commissioned during the Great Depression as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration. Students pass by these historical works, one depicting a scene from Cinderella and another of the Pied Piper of Hamlin, every single day. Now they have a new mural to appreciate, one that celebrates children who look a lot more like they do.

On Friday, December 9, artist Augusto Bordelois from the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning and the 24 young artists he inspired installed a brand new mural in the school library. This one was designed around the themes of Music and Tigers, brainstormed by students in Oxford HUB, one of the district’s five 21st Century grant-funded after-school programs.

Oxford HUB serves students in kindergarten through grade 5 and on-site coordinator Erin Hill said it can be difficult to find activities that will appeal to all of them at the same time. But this mural definitely did. Mr. Bordelois worked with the students for eight weeks and used a storytelling circle to brainstorm the mural’s theme and overall look. As described in the Residency Lesson Plan, students will “collaborate in creating a story that they can relate to, with an original theme, characters, timeline, and background that keeps evolving with each student’s input.”

The children loved the idea of music “because it’s so unifying – everybody loves music!” and added in what they called “rainbow Tigers,” showing their pride in both the district and in their diverse backgrounds. Mr. Bordelois took the students' ideas and created digital black-line drawings for them to color in. Each student worked with markers on specific sections of the scene, which were then scanned and compiled into one digital mural which was applied to the wall like adhesive wallpaper.

Ms. Hill is tying in their study of murals with a trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art and hopes to visit some of the other murals around the city. “The building was buzzing” on installation day, she said, thanks to an announcement by principal Jackie Taylor. The final product “is so much more beautiful than I expected and the pride on the students’ faces was amazing.”
Oxford HUB Mural, 1
Oxford Mural, 3 
Oxford Mural Students, 2

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