Students work on the mural.Visiting artist leads students in Hood mural posted on 05/02/2017
Christian Barrios, an artist who works in various mediums
including marquetry (wood), murals, recycled materials and more, grew up in
Mexico City, where he was first introduced to art by painting ceramics his
grandfather made. Today he helps bring art into classrooms all around Portland
through the Right Brain Initiative, an arts integration to help students link
learning from one area to others, and he still appreciates how the young
artists approach things and visualize their work.
“That’s why I like to work with kids, they have their own
idea of work,” Barrios said.
Barrios came to the Welches Schools to lead students in creating
a mural of Mount Hood, utilizing a variety of techniques and recycled materials
for the final product. At first, Barrios introduced students to his favorite
arts and lead them in a one-line drawing, like those of Pablo Picasso. From
there, each student created a painting of their own with simple lines, which
Barrios took parts of and created a larger picture of Mount Hood.
That image was then projected on wood, with students
transferring the image over with chalk. From there, Barrios planned on lightening
it up, gluing on a variety of painted bottle caps and finishing it with a layer
of epoxy. The mural is expected to be hung in the school’s gym.
Barrios noted that the project allows for a discussion on
ecosystems and nature, particularly how to take care of it and the importance
Second grader Olin Taylor offered another valuable lesson he
learned during the project regarding the number of artists involved.
“That you might need to make a team effort to make it good,”
said Taylor, 8. “I think it’s a very interesting piece, I’m curious to see how
it works out.”
Taylor’s classmate, Addy Kolibaba, already thought the mural
was coming along, despite that there were still work left to be done.
“I just like all of the colors and everything,” said
Their teacher, Dan Winans, noted that the project comes at a
good time during the school year, helping to break up the routine and offering
He also noted that Barrios has lead the students in other
activities that help them get thinking in other ways, including having groups
of students get up and perform a sentence and creating tableaus.
“It’s invigorating,” said Winans, who has been teaching at
Welches for 19 years.
Barrios noted that one of the biggest lessons with the
project is when students get to realize that they can create art, whether it’s
the one-line drawing or a mural of Mount Hood that will be on the gym wall for
years to come. And for second grader Autumn Haney, that message has already
“Don’t give up on yourself, especially when you’re not good
at it, so you get more out of life,” said Haney, 8.
By Garth Guibord/MT