Art IV wall display: painting transcends class expectations

Taylor Leitz, Guest Reporter

In room 122 of Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School, the seniors in the Art IV classroom are hard at work on this year’s wall display. The display is a long-set tradition where a large painting is created by students, representing a chosen societal issue students have selected to bring awareness to. Many common topics students chosen each year include the climate crisis, the effect that social media has on mental health, and body image issues. Though these are all drastically important subjects, this year’s class wanted to change it up a little bit.


A plethora of people view the world as corrupt. There is death, murder, poverty, and national tragedies happening daily – and that’s just to name a few. This year’s art IV students are taking that into account, but they also want to recognize the effect this mindset has on the population. 


“It is important for people to understand what is going on in the world,” student Senior Hayley Franks exclaims, “but when we don’t bother to take action, that awareness isn’t enough. The mindset of viewing ourselves as powerless is toxic, and it has a negative effect on us all. That’s why for this art project, we want to remind viewers that while terrible things are going on in this world, there’s still hope and it’s the simple things that matter.”


In order to showcase this mindset, Mrs. Giblin’s art class decided to paint a scene of realistic doors opening, showing the darkness the real world holds, but once inside the doors, there’s a beautiful field. The right side contains mountains, a wooden bridge, and a dirt road. As the eye follows the dirt road to the left, a silhouette of a city and a large industrialized bridge can be seen. Within the middle of this art will be little acts of kindness – from people picking up trash all the way to a person comforting somebody who might be going through a rough time. Their idea isn’t made to show that prevalent struggles in society aren’t important, but rather to show that within the darkness there are still good people who exist and the light is not impossible to find. 


Though this idea may seem sorted out, the class has been having a multitude of conflicts they are working to recover from, including what the composition will look like, which acts of kindness will specifically be displayed, what colors will be used, and where are they will place individual details. With multiple people working on a group effort project, different opinions can certainly conflict, and they’ve found that there are different hurdles they have to strive to get past. With a limited amount of time, however, and the understanding that the entire school will be looking at this for the majority of the year, they are aware that it is important to work together and come to an agreement. They talk it through and continue to make thrilling art instead of letting disagreements tear them down. Everybody has a mix of different styles, but together, they still manage to unify the piece and make it feel whole.   


These excruciating work days are spent in a variety of ways. Though it is a lot of work, that doesn’t mean it can’t be a fun and relaxed atmosphere! While starting the painting, the students spent their classes watching hit 2001 movie Shrek


“There is nothing quite like singing “Allstar” by Smashmouth while getting your clothes polluted by paint. It brings us closer as a community,” student Senior Mckenna Gooden said in good banter. 


The class is enthusiastic about continuing their project and strives to have it done before the end of the second marking period. After finishing, they will spend time putting it up and getting the art situated in the hallways. Then it will illuminate the school with its positive message for all to see for themselves. 


With this art piece hanging up in the hallway for hundreds of pupils to see, the class strives to spread a message of positivity and hope to people who might be struggling in the world. As it stands high up in the display case, the color will encompass viewers and throw them into a new universe where they can remember that it really is just the simple things that matter.