Mural Club Brings Colors To The Walls


Phatamarha Noel

Christina Whitt, mural club faculty advisor, wipes the girls’ bathroom counter

Phatamarha Noel, Staff Writer

Picture this, you’re winding down after a long day, blasting your favorite song in your headphones, and painting a mural that you know you’ll be proud of for years to come. Sounds relaxing, doesn’t it? Well, you don’t have to imagine it for much longer because Franklin Learning Center’s Mural Club can make it a reality. It’s possible you haven’t heard of the Mural Club until now, but I’m almost positive you’ve seen their works around the school. Whether it’s the murals across the third and first-floor walls or in the 3rd-floor girl’s bathroom, you’ve passed at least one while rushing to get to your next period class. 

There are three steps to creating a mural:

Brainstorming: First, you have to come up with a concept. Because this is a group project, the Mural Club has to take their time to make sure everyone is on board and everyone knows what their job is, but they’re always open to ideas for their next mural. Maybe there’s a color palette that you think would make FLC look much better and want to see. Or there’s an idea that you want expressed. Maybe even a funny picture that you think should be an inside joke among FLC! There’s a whole range of possibilities and each mural can serve a different purpose. What would you like to see?

Sketching: Before you start the painting, it’s a good idea to sketch out your painting first. It doesn’t have to be identical to the final product, but more of a guide for what you want to do. You can enlarge the image in a variety of ways, but you can also just freehand. 

Painting: Then there’s painting, the Mural Club usually starts with priming the canvas which is making sure it’s light enough and then they layer colors to suit the mural. It’s really straightforward, but you should never be afraid to mess up. Creativity can turn mistakes into something new. I asked Zaynab Hajali, an 11th grader here at FLC and a long-standing member, about what her favorite part of the Mural Club was and her answer was “My favorite part is basically painting. I love painting… but I don’t get to do it very often at home, so I like that there’s a club at school that allows me to do so.” 

You don’t have to be an art major to join, in fact, Hajali is a Medical Assisting Major. It’s a perfect opportunity if you are interested in art to gauge your skills and get more experience. Even if you don’t know if you like art, this would be the perfect time to find out. Plus, you don’t have many responsibilities except for showing up and being consistent each week. This is supposed to be a relaxing experience that also gives you a sense of fulfillment, not another assignment to finish, so don’t think of it as such.

The Mural Club meets every Wednesday from 3-4 pm in room 302. Currently, they’re working on the girl’s bathroom, but they’re thinking of renovating old murals like the one near the cafeteria. There are only a handful of members and even if you’re not a part of the club, they’re open to ideas for a next mural. Hajali says the members of the mural club are pretty “chill” and that “everyone is in their own world when painting.” So if you’re more on the introverted side, this would be the perfect after-school club for you. 

If you’re gonna join the Mural Club, you should probably know a little bit about the teacher who runs it. Ms. Whitt is an art teacher who has been described by Hajali as “a very sweet person,” and “very comfortable to talk to.” Murals used to be assignments for Ms. Whitt’s students, but it started spilling into afterschool time and various majors began attending. Talking to Ms. Whitt about the Mural Club, she wanted it to be clear that “All different levels are welcome..Sometimes people think that they have to be an art major or they have to have a lot of experience and you really don’t.” Ms. Whitt has watched the students who painted her earliest murals, like the ones near the cafeteria, grow up to be in their thirties! Rest assured, your artwork, if you decide to join the mural club, will last a while. She also mentioned that Philadelphia is known for its public art like murals, graffiti, sculptures, etc. They’re all over the city and it’s a great thing that the Mural Club falls in line with the traditions.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, The Mural Club, like many other clubs in FLC, has shrunk significantly and is now overlooked. The Mural Club could be a great fit for students who love painting but are more reserved. It’s the perfect space for people who prefer comfortable and quiet spaces to share their creativity after school.

Austin rivera-Montes, another mural club member, painting girls’ bathroom. Staff photographer Phatamarha Noel
Naomi Hoover painting girls’ bathroom. Staff photographer Phatamarha Noel.