“Be The Change”
“Be The Change” was a mural in collaboration with the MHS Art Club. In 2014, I founded an art club with the students of Marianas High School. Together, we launched a public art project that worked with local businesses and community members to create large-scale paintings on the tiny island of Saipan. This project was painted on the Library at Marianas High School.
Funding for this project was raised by the club through various events throughout the year. The Flame Tree Festival is an annual showcase of local and international artists. Each year, the club sets up selling lino-cut prints and henna tattoos in an effort to raise money for activities and murals. We approached the school with the idea of painting a wall of the library, one that had been frequently vandalized. This was a particularly important wall, as it is in the heart of the campus, and the background for the JROTC competitions and graduation ceremonies. The students came together in a collaborative effort during their summer break to help beautify their community.
The design revolves around the school colors and their mascot, the dolphin. As a tribute to the culture of their area, a “Flying Proa” was used on the second story of the building. The “flying proa” is still one of the most efficient sailboat designs to date. When the Spanish conquistadors arrived, they named these vessels a “Flying Proa”, for their speed and ability to lift out of the water. For thousands of years, natives used these sailboats to navigate the open seas, with the help of the stars, to travel from island to island. A tradition that is still practiced today.
This mural began as a collaborative effort with students, guidance counselors, faculty, and administration, as paint balloons started flying for the underpainting of the water. This was an experience that I will never forget. Big thanks to everyone involved, especially MHS Art Club, for helping shape the campus for generations of students to come. If you are lucky enough to make it to Saipan, swing by Marianas High School to see some beautiful art.