New Mural Splatters LASA With School Spirit

Fiona Kleeman, Staff Writer

The mural club is a way to add a pop of color to the school as well as earning National Honors Society (NHS) hours along the way. The club’s first mural is on the wall outside of the newspaper classroom, room 701, heading to the cafeteria. According to junior and club leader Vivian Butler, the artwork provides the school with a touch of LASA pride.

The club first started off as a nonprofit organized by Butler outside of school in May 2021. Butler said she painted a small mural for an apartment building over the summer and after that success decided to bring it to school as a way to get new participants. Butler founded the club in September 2021 and started to brainstorm ways to raise awareness for the club by asking if painting murals could be community service.

“Then I learned that it could also be NHS hours, so that would be another motivation for people to join,” Butler said.

Some students, like club co-president junior Emma Bailey, were drawn into the club because of her love for art. Bailey said she has enjoyed painting for multiple years, and she was excited to participate in her first art-based club.

“I did art when I was little, and I got into a museum when I was in elementary school, regarding a painting I did,” Bailey said. “I’ve always loved the field of art, and I want to pursue it, so I decided to run this club with my friend.”

The mural creation process starts with brainstorming and choosing the right design. Butler says about 30 students met during lunch and discussed design and location ideas. She then sent out a poll to the students to get a final consensus, and the club decided on the location. 

“We wanted to be inside the school, mainly, so more people can see it,” Bailey said. “We have multiple options, multiple walls. But we ended up choosing that one, so more people will see it as they come into lunch, and it’s just a focal point.”

Once the club decided on the mural location, Butler sketched out the mural design on Illustrator. Unfortunately, Bailey said the club hit a roadblock regarding the similar mural outside of the small gym. The design issues made the process last over two weeks, which Bailey said was longer than she had wanted.

“The first [design] was of the Austin skyline,” Butler said. “Then we realized it was too similar to the other mural. So then I completely scratched the idea and created a new idea that wasn’t in the poll, and that’s the current one.”

Butler got inspiration for the final design from the welcome to Austin postcards found around the city. According to Butler, the design will say, “Welcome to LASA Liberal Arts and Science Academy”, and each letter will have representations of LASA activities, like band, art, science, and math.

“Those old postcards I thought would reflect LASA’s personality with all of the extracurriculars and things that truly represent the school inside the letters,” Butler said.

After finalizing the design, Butler said the club started on the physical mural. They primed the wall, painting on a layer of white paint that makes the wall a clean canvas for new artwork. Butler said the club then used a grid to scale up the design and make sure any artist, even if they were not the original designers, knew what the mural should look like.

“We started making a grid on the wall, and we primed it,” Butler said. “Then we started to sketch to get proportionate over the grid. It took longer than expected, probably three meetings to prime and chalk, so a month.”

One of the most difficult tasks to handle was the costs of all the materials, according to Butler. She said she originally paid for all the primer, brushes, and paint for the project.

“It wasn’t until the color paints, which cost twice or three times as much as the original materials, that I went and asked Ms. Crescenzi, and sent in a receipt to the school,” Butler said.

Despite the challenges that the club faced when making the murals, Dance director Paige Edwards likes the result. Edwards said the mural helps to add a touch of school spirit as well as a pop of color to the school.

“Art can uplift people,” Edwards said. “I think it’s a great way for artists to express themselves and give the school more character too.”

Club members like Bailey are also excited to see the final result. After working as a team on the mural, everyone has their favorite bits and pieces.

“I really love the raptors, how they turned out,” Bailey said. “There’s two of them. There’s one on each side of the mural, and I just think it adds a really cute aspect considering we just recently made the new mascot.”

Butler does not have a favorite image but rather a favorite aspect. She is excited to view the piece when it comes together. It has taken the mural club longer than they thought it would to complete it, but they are eager to see the final piece. The club hopes to complete the mural by the end of February.

“I think when all the colors and tones and activities really come together, I think that will probably be my favorite part,” Butler said.