Walking the hallways of W.G. Murdoch School in Crossfield, students are reminded daily of the students who have walked the halls before them, thanks to an extraordinary mural gallery that is added to every year.
The mural gallery encompasses a signature artwork from each graduating class going back to 1998, when the yearly tradition first started.
These works have all been completed on panels, which can be removed and moved around at need, and each one represents the unique vision of the graduating class that rendered it. The works are always finished prior to the summer break, with the most recent getting a place of honour above the gymnasium door for the entire next school year, before it is moved down the hall to hang in the mural gallery among its peers.
Then, the next graduating class is ready to display its defining work, and the cycle continues.
The three artists currently working on the final version of the Class of 2023’s mural are graduating students Kaitlyn Hayes, Julian Arnold and Mackenzie Hilton.
Hayes and Arnold recently spoke to the Rocky View Weekly about their collaborative approach to this year's artwork.
“We asked the class if anyone wants to help out with the mural,” explained Hayes. “We organized a meeting at lunch to try and bring that up. Once we got our final sketch done of what we wanted to do, we asked via group chat the rest of the grad class what they thought of it.”
According to Hayes, their classmates' feedback resulted in a few minor alterations to the original design concept, but it helped ensure everyone in the class felt included in the final form of the mural panel.
Arnold is proud of what the design team came up with by the end of the consultation process.
“The main idea for the grad mural is basically walking out of your childhood bedroom into this space of adulthood where you could have multiple different opportunities,” Arnold said. “That represents what it is like to be a grade 12 student in general, because you have huge opportunities to become something great. It’s kind of limitless.”
This year’s design also continued a tradition of leaving an open space within the panel for each and every graduating student at W.G. Murdoch School to sign their names.
“So we'll always have a last little memory of that grad class,” said Hayes, “but it also helps brighten up the school.”
“Seeing them (the murals),” added Arnold, “seeing what they represent, and the people who painted the last murals (names), it’s obviously a really special thing. I was excited to be included.”
Hayes summed up what it means to create a work of art that will represent their graduating class in the halls of W.G. Murdoch for years to come, helping to inspire the next generation of students.
“It is an honour to be able to see what we can contribute to that,” she said. “I am pleased I will be able to play a direct role in making it and getting it up there – cementing our (place).”