Cooper Students Paint Legacy Murals
For four years, students walk the halls of Cooper High School before moving onto the next step of their lives.
But some of the students in Cooper’s IB art class have been given the opportunity to leave their mark on these very halls.
“The idea is forever,” said Claire Mielke, a visual arts teacher at Cooper.
Mielke is referring to a mural project, where students find a blank panel on the wall and put their creativity to work.
“Yes, they have to get it approved by myself and some admin,” Mielke said. “One of our principals sits with them and talks about their designs and helps them pick out a location.”
The murals don’t have to fall under the parameters of a specific theme, but every one of them means something to the student artists.
Cooper senior Chris Blabuh chose to paint the Lowry Avenue Bridge in Minneapolis at sunset for his mural. It took him about three weeks to finish the project.
“A lot of people in our school are from Minneapolis,” Blabuh said. “I was trying to give the vibes that, you know, it’s kind of representing the North Side a little bit, and just showing love to where I come from.”
Another mural nearby features the work of Emakay Dyson, a junior at Cooper.
“We’re all really thankful to Ms. Mielke for giving us this opportunity to leave our marks on the school,” Dyson said.
Dyson’s work was done in collaboration with a teacher. The mural has a Las Vegas theme and points students in the direction of the college readiness program known as AVID.
“A lot of people don’t really know that much about [AVID],” Dyson said. “Unless they started in middle school like me. I started [AVID] in middle school. So you know, maybe [students can] walk past it and be like, ‘Oh, what’s that class? Is that something i can get into?'”
Aside from being a legacy project for the students, the hope is that the murals will inspire others to advocate for the arts and take art classes.
“I have a ton of kids who are registered for this class for next year,” Mielke said. “I’m just so proud that kids want to take our classes.”
The last day for Cooper seniors this year is May 31. Their graduation ceremony is Monday, June 5 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The ceremony will be livestreamed on CCX Media.
Related: Cooper HS’s Emakay Dyson Honored for Artwork