After the students had determined their mural image and had it approved by their principal and superintendent, the image had to be sketched onto the wall. This wall was chosen because of its high visibility. Students and CPRAT members sanded and painted the wall.
It took a few days to paint the mural (but months to plan). The students had a mural unveiling for their school in October, 2010. They received awards for their hard work and leadership.
Since 2007, fourth and fifth graders (hereafter, researchers) from a local elementary school have been collaborating with CPRAT, using participatory action research to create positive changes in their school. Through artistic expression and discussions around community, education and diversity, researchers created the “We Are Powerful” mural during the summer of 2009. Additional mural support was provided by art4change, housed at Gavilan College. The mural is an example of the changes these researchers are making in their school and community. Change 4 Good researchers then assessed the “We Are Powerful” mural to see if it addressed their original problem definition. They determined that other students did not feel connected to the mural so they conducted focus groups to incorporate student, school staff, and community stories about making a change in the community. They designed a mural based on these stories and in the summer of 2012, they painted the mural “Maplewood Stories.” The researchers then surveyed the school and community about that mural and learned that teachers felt least connected to the image representing “struggle.” This was so important to the researchers that they decided to conduct more focus groups asking about a more unifying theme: people’s hopes and dreams for the school and the community. Over the summer of 2015, the researchers painted the mural “Hopes and Dreams of the Maplewood Community,” which was based on responses from a third set of focus groups. In 2016 the researchers surveyed the school and community to learn if the mural represented the community’s hopes and dreams. Researchers continue to meet once a week to identify issues in their school and community as they determine what to research and act upon.