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Class gifts celebrate unity through art

Heather Lee

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This year, the class of 2017 showed their creativity with two murals, each paired with a multi-media installation created from contributions that were open to all seniors.

  New Horizons, the mural painted primarily by senior Isabella Aslarus, is set back behind hanging origami doves on which each senior was invited to write a meaningful message.

  Aslarus said the doves symbolize the unity and diversity of her grade.

    “I thought that would be a really cool way to get every senior involved in decorating a bird,” said Aslarus. “It’s… a good symbol for the uniqueness of every individual coming together to form the class as a whole.”

  Each dove was folded personally by Aslarus. Over the course of several months, she and members of the art club created a mural of a serene sunset that is now hanging in the science wing.

  Aslarus said the doves and the mural are meant to symbolize her grade’s departure from WHS.

  “We’re going to string [the doves] up and hang them so they seem to be flying out of the painting, sort of like the sun setting on our senior year and rising on the rest of our lives,” Aslarus said.

   The other mural, Sunset on Mass Ave, portrays the beautiful skyline of Boston harbor. It was created by seniors Kylie Burkus, Spencer Braunstein, Zoë Walker, and Caroline Kenyon.

  “The Boston skyline represents our home. We are all collectively proud of where we are from,” senior Spencer Braunstein said.

  All four seniors worked together as a team to design and paint the mural.

  “We researched some pictures and painted small mock designs,” Braunstein said. “We all liked different pictures and saw symbolic properties in each, so I toyed with the idea of overlaying them, doing different combinations until one was approved by all of us.”

  With the final image being a combination of three different pictures, the artists have covered the canvas with meaningful signs for their grade. For example, the tree in the mural is covered with names of deceased family members. The bench has its own meaning as well.

  “The empty bench is symbolizing how our class has left; we are leaving our safe place and traveling on to another journey,” Braunstein said.

  Throughout the process of creating the mural, the four artists said they all learned from their mistakes and how to work as a team.

  “Most of us have never worked on a collaborative piece before, so that was new to all of us,” they said in their artistic statement. “We struggled joining everyone’s style to create something that works together. At one point the sky color was completely orange while the tree and grass were red. After many debates and failed attempts, we were eventually able to change this to make it all work. As a group we all learned something in this difficult process.”

  Sunset on Mass Ave also has a whole class contribution pairing with the mural – a chain-link fence with the year ‘2017’ spelled out in locks decorated by each member of the grade.

  Braunstein said he got his inspiration for this project from the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris, with each lock symbolizing a connection to a meaningful experience left behind.

  Art teacher Julie Hom-Mandell acknowledged the effort these group projects demand.

  “These students are very selfless. They put hours into this, and it’s a gift to the school that will positively affect the community,” she said.

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Class gifts celebrate unity through art