Friday, October 13, 2017

Faces of 501: Adrianna Havens

Faces of 501: Adrianna Havens

Adrianna Havens has taught for Topeka Public Schools for the past four years, as an AVID teacher and volleyball coach at Chase Middle School. Havens and her students from an after school art club have created two murals that feature the unique aspects of the school. It took two school years, plus summers from start to finish to complete the “Performing Arts and Chase Way” mural and a semester and a summer to finish the “Multicultural” mural. Ten students from the Chase art club volunteered to work on the murals, using their summer vacations to paint on a daily basis to finish the murals. The end result is two large murals that cover the entire length of a wall at Chase and a hallway that connects State Street Elementary to Chase Middle School and highlights both schools’ commitment to the Performing Arts. 

The "Performing Arts and Chase Way" mural connecting State Street and Chase Middle School. 
The performing arts mural came from the performing arts teachers. They were motivated to have us brainstorm and create a mural that identified Chase as the performing arts middle school. We shared ideas and what we wanted to portray and how it would make the hallway connect the performing arts middle school and the elementary school. We wanted to feel connected to both schools. 

The multicultural mural was originally brought to the table from our previous principal. He just shot an idea at me about “knowing your culture” and I created an after school art club that ran with it. It is completely kid designed and kid created. They sketched ideas and ran it past me and then we brainstormed how to combine all of the aspects they wanted to portray. This let each kiddo who was involved in the Art Club and mural process have a voice as to what they wanted and felt they needed to display to convey their message. The “Performing Arts and Chase Way” mural basically encompasses all that we have available at Chase from our performing arts program, to the arts and music, to our clubs and programs we offer to students.”
Multicultural Mural at Chase Middle School.
“I’ve learned that you definitely need a layout that is super structured when involving kids at the middle school level to paint murals of these sizes. It was challenging to make sure that we were staying clean with our painting skills and to make sure that each section was labeled and set out before we even thought of applying paint. Some kids really took off with their own creative instincts and applied their own touches to sections we were working on, so making sure that they are all somewhat uniform and consistent throughout the mural was challenging. 

My advice for students that want to paint a mural: make sure it's something that will make an impact on those who view it. Don't be afraid to express something that you strongly believe in that has positive values. Even though the performing arts mural is bigger, I have more of a connection and internal response to the Multicultural mural simply because it resounds with power about what they wanted to express. They wanted to encompass celebration and diversity. And I think the kids did a great job at planning how to symbolize both.”

The Performing Arts and Chase Way Mural.