CHELMSFORD — Pupils at Chelmsford Secondary School are lighting up remote learning hallways with a series of murals on their teachers’ doors.
Dubbed ‘The Door Project’, the series of artworks so far includes six classroom doors and a mural in the offices of Hawthorne House. Five other murals are currently in progress.
“Going from my colorful bedroom to drab hallways, the most noticeable feature walking down the hall became the blank brown doors instead of the students cramming in,” said senior Michael Khela, who came up with the idea. after returning in person. learning in April 2021. “It became the inspiration base to start the door painting project.”
Khela and classmates Jennie Huynh, Mahi Chava, and Larry Yang pitched the idea to school administrators and custodial staff to paint murals on each classroom door to reflect each teacher’s personality. The first completed mural adorns the doorway of English teacher Ian Van Blarcom and depicts schools of fish swimming in a body of water below a mountain range with a quote from poet Oscar Wilde.
“It would give art students the opportunity to show off their skills and creativity in a constructive and fun way and it would add color and personality to the deluge of brown that adorns our hallways,” Van Blarcom said of the project. , which he helped obtain. of the ground. “It’s one of the school colors, but sometimes it can be all over the place.”
Other murals were done on the doors of chemistry teacher Debra Collins, which features Edna Mode’s character from Pixar’s ‘The Incredibles’; English teacher Michael Shea, pointing to Superman; social studies teacher Julie Durkin, showing colorful confetti; and math teacher Katherine Doulamis, showing characters from the “Peanuts” comic strip.
Students work with teachers to design each mural, coming up with a concept and a quote provided by the teacher. The design is sketched in white pen before painting, with most work taking place on Thursdays and Fridays after school, and each student signs their name when the mural is complete.
The group has grown to over 20 students and Khela maintains a spreadsheet listing all the teachers interested in having their door painted. So far, no teacher has turned down this opportunity.
Van Blarcom said he appreciates that teachers get a vote on the design of their doors and that student artists have the opportunity to show off their creativity in a unique way.
“The school looks a lot brighter, more colorful and all the variety definitely adds character where there wasn’t much before,” Van Blarcom said.
While all the students work together, Huynh serves as something of an artistic director for the group.
“We all do it together, but we see Jennie as the leader,” Khela said. “Jennie is the artist, tells us how to paint, what to paint. She taught me brushstrokes.
Materials for the door project were donated by Lowe’s to Lowell and ColorWorks and Van Gogh‘s Gear to Chelmsford.