Brilliant splashes of color, textures, and artistic statements. What began as teacher Nicole Moersch’s vision has become an inspiring installation of art, as four new murals fill Aviara Oaks Middle School’s (AOMS) campus with color and creative expression.
Last year Ms. Moersch, along with music and ASB (student leadership) teacher Marina Hall, conceived a plan for a community collaboration to bring public art to their campus. They proposed a mural project to AOMS administrators Bryan Brockett and Julie Steitz as a way to build connections among the AOMS faculty, students, families, and the community. Approvals were secured, and the students held a carnival to raise funds for equipment and supplies.
The teachers were able to recruit four talented local artists who were willing to donate their time and artistic prowess to the AOMS campus project. The four North County muralists – Skye Walker, Bryan Snyder, Tierney Moses, and Sean Dominguez — volunteered their time and talents to conceptualize, design, and bring to fruition their works of art on campus, while students observed and interacted with them.
Ms. Moersch and Ms. Hall asked for art that would reflect and embody the project’s themes —reaching for dreams, serenity, and community. The artists responded with impressive renderings of their proposals. The project was on. The artists had two days, a lift, and many gallons of paint for creating their artwork.
When muralist Bryan Snyder was a 3rd grader at Magnolia Elementary in Carlsbad, he attended an assembly taught by visiting artist Mark Kistler from the Draw Squad. That experience, he recounts, “was life-changing —it opened up this new world of being an artist, and I knew that I had found what I wanted to do.” Mr. Snyder, a member of the Carlsbad Arts Council, loves teaching art and inspiring kids. He appreciated the chance to work with the AOMS students and was pleased to find that they had so many questions about his work. Sharing his step-by-step mural process, he demonstrated how to prepare and cut stencils and invited students to write poetry on the stencils —-all the while sprinkling in trivia questions about art history. In his AOMS mural, “the falcon, the school’s mascot, represents the school and education taking the kids to higher places, with an upward momentum, towards high school and college.” Mr. Snyder said that he hopes “this flash of color will give kids a welcoming feeling that will make them want to learn more.”
Muralist Skye Walker’s work is inspired by nature and the environment. His mural draws upon the Southern California landscape, depicting poppies, yucca, the night sky in the desert, and the mountains. Mr. Walker sees mural painting as the largest movement in the history of art, from prehistoric cave paintings, to Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, to the work of Diego Rivera. And he believes that murals in public spaces are easy ways to expose the community to the beauty and power of art. Mr. Walker particularly enjoyed teaching some of AOMS art students how to use the sprayer to apply paint to the wall. He has just departed on a year-long Sea to Sea Mural Tour to do work, educate, and collaborate with other artists across the country. “We are grateful to Aviara Oaks Middle School,” he said, “for having the faith in us to allow us to bring our visions to life.”
Tierney Moses, the only female muralist of the four, hopes her work inspires the kids and adults on campus. She especially wants to inspire the girls at AOMS to follow their passions. So her mural portrays a woman engaged in one of Ms. Moses’ passions —-skateboarding. She wanted AOMS students to see a strong, confident woman attaining what she has striven for, whether as a doctor, a musician, a lawyer, or a professional skateboarder.
Artist Sean Dominguez created an evocative mural of the American flag, billowing in the breeze over a churning ocean, that the students in AOMS P.E. classes can salute as they recite the Pledge of Allegiance on the tarmac each morning. Mr. Dominguez and Mr. Snyder also worked together recently on another local public art project, the “Colors of Carlsbad” on the Carlsbad Art Wall, in an exciting collaboration with Visit Carlsbad.
“I am really thankful to the artists and the school community for making this happen,” said Ms. Moersch. “The murals bring life and color to the school. But, for me, the most profound part of the project was seeing the students interact with the artists, observing the process of creating an artwork, and discovering how art evokes a response in people. One student reported that he had visited the websites of the artists and was excited to find that art might be a career he wants to pursue.”
The school appreciates the chance to showcase the work of these talented local artists, and to motivate all AOMS students, especially those interested in the Visual and Performing Arts, to create their own art.