Odyssey High School Mural Project

Melissa Hancock, Art Teacher at Odyssey High School wrote on her Excel Grant application: “Visual Arts is a new class that is being offered at Odyssey High School. In years past, art was taught during intersession. Students at Odyssey are VERY excited about having art class, and all 35 of my students come to class each day ready and excited to learn!

This year, we will be working on various painting and drawing projects, but when I asked students what they would like to do, students have voiced their interest in creating a school mural in the hallway (the wall just outside the art classroom). When talking to students, we want to involve the whole school by putting out a “call to artists” in each advisory class. The WHOLE school would participate in submitting AND voting on a design for the mural! The mural theme and design would be decided by students, and would help to represent student involvement and student empowerment.”

She requested funds to cover the cost of drop cloths; paint brushes; roller brushes; paint (several colors); painters tape; utility cart to store/transport supplies; buckets for water and smocks. Quite a list! Melissa added: “I have worked for a youth empowerment – mural organization in the past (Urban ArtWorks), so implementing the mural with my art classes would be very manageable. The really special part of this project is that the WHOLE school could be involved and feel like they had a say. It will also beautify and unify our school hallways.

This would be a project that would last forever and the art students implementing the painting will be able to have “bragging rights”, giving them the opportunity to feel good about being a part of a positive impact on their school community.”

Melissa received a MAD Grant and went to work! The mural is scheduled to be completed later this month, but here’s an update on their progress:

We held a school-wide competition to submit design ideas for a school hallway mural. Two designs were submitted and all students voted on their favorite. The winner was announced at an all school meeting (assembly). The design winner and a few of her friends stayed after school in March and helped to draw the design out on the wall.

School Mural - The Beginning

Odyssey High School Mural Project – The Beginning

All students in my art class have been taking turns working on painting in the mural. We are still working on completing the mural, but it is getting closer to completion! I anticipate it being done by April.

posterStudents have been excited about the mural and have been coming by to offer ideas, tips and feedback. Everyone has been positive and said that the mural really brightens up the hallway, that it’s cool, and that they like it. At a follow-up all school meeting, students gave appreciations at the school for students and teachers. Students recognized an appreciate to me for writing the grant and to Katie, the winner of the design.

At first students were very hesitant about working on the mural, saying “I don’t want to screw it up!” But I assured them that this is just like everything else in life, it can be fixed! It’s just paint!

Students seem to really enjoy working on the mural during class. It has been a wonderful group project where students can collaborate, problem solve together and enjoy making an impact on our school community.


Since 1999, the Highline Schools Foundation has been supporting innovation and excellence in Highline Public Schools. Our funding priorities focus on programs to improve academic achievement, supporting college and career readiness, grants to teachers for engaging classroom projects, the arts, athletics, and programs that keep students in school and productive. Highline is a district full of need and opportunity. The Highline Schools Foundation is the only non-profit organization dedicated to all schools in our district—our goal is to help as many students as possible be successful!

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