OAKLAND -- Bret Harte Middle School added a new mural to their campus, "You're Hungry Eat," by the school's advanced art class.
Teacher Wendy Brubaker and her class collaborated with local artist Debbie Koppman in the design and painting of the mural, which was unveiled on June 12.
The goal of the project was to inspire students to eat healthy. The mural portrays the myriad of food options as well as the multicultural diversity of the community and what it means to the 30 student artists who worked on the mural.
"What I like about it is that it shows the abundance of food grown from the earth. Food comes from the ground, not the grocery store shelf," Brubaker said. "This theme is very near and dear to my heart. We need to preserve it. Our very lives depend on it."
Koppman said: "The basic design was drawn from student-generated ideas, showing a world divided into puzzle pieces, surrounded by large plates of appealing foods. Inspiration for the images came from photographs of all aspects of food production from around the world, including cultivating, marketing, and cooking foods.
"The process was rewarding," she continued. "This is a public art process. The kids learned how to create something with someone else's ideas. I felt the kids had the feeling of pride when it was done. I was really proud of them."
"It was more fun than other projects," said seventh-grader Nancy Yorn. "It was my first time painting on a wall. I'd never worked on a project like this before. It was bigger (than other projects) and I knew everyone would see it."
"I learned how to work better with others," added seventh-grader Andrea Pineda.
The class started planning the project in April. After brainstorming to obtain the initial concept of the mural, the class perused books for inspiration, Brubaker said.
Each student was given a quadrant, marked out in red chalk, to create their own design. They drew them on a piece of paper first, before transferring them onto the wall, said seventh-grader T.J. Lackey.
There are a total of seven murals around the school. It is Brubaker's goal to work with her students to add a mural every couple of years. The majority of them have been done in collaboration with Koppman.
Koppman has taught art at Sequoia Elementary School for 15 years and has done a lot of community art centered in the Fruitvale and Dimond districts.
"Other kids in school say it looks nice," Lackey said. "It inspired me to eat healthy and I hope it will do so for others."