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Lesson Plans

"stupid in Chicago" does it again

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Jerry Deasy (jdeasy)
Sun, 1 Sep 1996 11:12:21 -0500 (CDT)

Some of you may remember my original note about an
administrator who should be called "the nun from hell."
I taught at this school for th past 14 years and this administrator
has done everything possible to discredit the role of art (and me) in that
I just found out that a mural that I did with about 100 students
over a two year period was destroyed. I no longer work at the
school and several students and teachers told me that this
person has managed to erase every trace of art that I had
students do while I was a teacher at that school.
The mural was 8 feet by 20 feet and I did it on 5 masonite panels
in acrylic paint. The theme of the mural was the school curriculum
and philosophy.
It was roughly divided into four layers from top to bottom. Each
layer represented a year at the school. Freshman, sophomore,
junior and senior with of course graduation at the top right corner.
Each activity or class that the students take each year was represented
by a figure. The figures were each about 3 feet tall, so they had to
overlap in the mural. There were over 100 figures.
Some of the figures were really precious and the girls were very
creative. Some that I liked especially well. One was the figure to
represent freshman final exams. It was a student on her knees
just praying that she would pass. Another was a student getting
ready for finals holding a ton of books, with papers falling off of
them as she prepared to study. The school had a mardi gras and the
figure for that was also one of my favorites.
I even managed to bring in multicultural before it became a buzz word.
There are a lot of ethnic groups in the school and when the girls
started painting the figures they were doing all blue eyed and blond.
I went up to the girls and kidded them about it and suggested they
use their own skin tones, facial features and hair colors. Some of them
replied "are we allowed to do that?" which was a whole area of discussion
in itself.
Each subject area was represented, math, english, history, etc.,
as well as the events that were special to each year. Proms, dances,
history fair, may crowning etc. Teams and clubs each had a figure to
represent them.. In making the original sketches for the mural, students
were encouraged to talk to the teachers who taught those areas so it became
a collaberative effort. This of course made the teachers all excited about
the progress of the mural. They each had their own suggestions from time
to time which added to the overall spirit.
The words of the school misson statement were interwoven throughout
which led to a discussion of lettering styles and how lettering is used in
I discovered a girl, who had never taken an art class, but could do these
wonderful characatures and invited her to add her touches to the mural where
girls had trouble giving expression to their faces.
This same girl, when I was yearbook moderator did characatures of her senior
classmates. I had to practically force the girl to do this as she did not
see her talent
as important. You know the pages where they vote girls most likely to be doctor,
lawyer, teacher, artist, and so on. You could really identify the girls from
her drawing.

It is really sad that this administrator destroyed this to get back at me.
At one point
after the mural was done, she said to me "what are you going to do with your
She did not have a clue that this mural now belonged to the school and even
I said I am giving it to the school she did not respond.
I came in on a Saturday morning and installed it on a wall near the art
Many parents, faculty and students would ask why wasn't it in a more prominent
place in the school? I really had to bite my tongue to not answer that

I do have photographs of it and many fond memories of the girls who did it.
I can still see their faces and in many cases tell you their name. I
vividly remember
the struggle some of the girls had with figures and representing abstract ideas.
Even the funny things like mispelled words or the way that some of the
figures looked
like the girls who did them(even though the girls would protest that they
did not)

One of the girls who told me it was gone said she just stood there crying
in front of
that blank wall. I really felt helpless in being able to offer her any

Jerry Deasy

  • Maybe reply: Chris Merriam: "Re: "stupid in Chicago" does it again"
  • Maybe reply: Mcracker: "Re: "stupid in Chicago" does it again"
  • Maybe reply: Ken Rohrer: "Re: "stupid in Chicago" does it again"