BELOIT — Beloit Memorial High School (BMHS) is now home to a Black Lives Matter mural thanks to the art club, just in time for Black History Month.
“I put it on Facebook and it got slammed with support,” art teacher Elizabeth Carpenter said.
The project was launched this fall. Students considered a street mural in front of the high school, but there were weather as well as safety concerns in light of COVID-19. They considered window painting, but students were not allowed in the building at the time. They finally decided to paint individual letters to spell out “Black Lives Matter” and place them behind windows. The COVID-19 friendly mural is now visible from the street.
Carpenter then zipped around Beloit delivering the individual mat boards to students’ doorsteps.
Students interviewed on Tuesday outside the school were enthusiastic about their creations, the art club and the opportunity to share their ideas through a visual medium.
Leslie Baez-Garcia, who hopes to become a fashion designer, colored her letters in rainbows and butterflies.
P.J. Wilson made a “C” with transgender flag colors paired with darker colors to signify people of color who are transgender.
Ivette Pita-Ruiz also used transgender flag colors.
“I wanted to bring awareness to victims of violence who are black or transgender,” Pita-Ruiz said.
Carpenter noted Pita-Ruiz is working on a political and social issues series of artwork for Advanced Placement studio art class. Pita Ruiz hopes to one day be an art teacher.
Ashley Ayaquica painted the late musician Prince on her letter.
“He’s a huge music icon for the black community,” she said.
Katura Bell’s letter was inspired by the music industry and the individuality in the black community.
Sierra Perez made silhouettes of people along with lots of uplifting colors. She said she wanted to show the beautiful side of justice and being a person of color.
Carpenter said the art club might eventually take the letters down and install them somewhere else in the school.
The budding artists are not slowing down. Those with the Art Club are considering making a virtual gallery of art to offer the community with a theme of caring, compassion and love.
Since the art club didn’t paint the windows around the holiday season in downtown Beloit, Carpenter said the club members have been thinking about approaching the same vendors for a spring window painting. Businesses could get their windows bedazzled with flowers, bunnies, 4-leaf clovers and other springtime fair.