WHAT IS THE MURAL IN THE FRESHMAN CAFETERIA?


Photo by Kyle Crawford


Above the steps connecting the freshman cafeteria and Freshman Center is a grand mural, an abstract art piece with bright colors and countless symbols.

According to Principal John Williams, this mural was made when the Freshman Center was constructed. The school had a contract with an Indianapolis artist who brought in various samples and ideas.

Although the art piece wasn’t vital to the construction of the freshman center, Williams said the school wanted something to fill in the big space in the freshman cafeteria.
Williams said that at the time, there was a poll for teachers and students asking what they thought represented CHS most.

“That was the idea of the mural,” Williams said.

Because of its location high up on the wall, the artist had to use scaffolding and built the mural in pieces.

“I wasn’t sold on it at first,” Williams said. “Partly, and I still agree with this, some of the things that were in there were just things that were going on at that time. I’m sure there’s some stuff in there that happened maybe around that time with those kids that were in school at that time that wouldn’t necessarily mean anything to you guys. So it’s also a memorial to the time period.”

Williams said he likes the bright colors and the general positive vibe of the mural.

During its construction, the artist went through each image on the art piece and explained some tie to the high school or the community, according to Williams.

For example, the two trees in the mural represent the two trees outside the cafeteria. In fact, those trees are also pictured in the paintings of the 1958 renovations of the school.

He said, “I think what I like about it is that it’s uplifting. And I think because of its clutter, it kind of represents (CHS).”

Williams said he thinks there might be some different symbols and objects in the mural if it were done today, but nonetheless, the art piece captures the spirit of CHS.

“I think there’s just a lot going on at Carmel but it kind of all blends together, and it all results in, I think, I hope, pretty uplifting, positive experience for kids,” Williams said. “There’s a lot of stuff going on (in the mural too).”

“If it does that, you know, a lot of kids are sitting there just reflecting on it, then it maybe served it purpose,” Williams said. “I mean, what’s art for if not to make us reflect and think, kind of fit our world into this (mural). It’s interesting.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE MURAL MEANS?

ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL AMY SKEENS-BENTON

How would you interpret this mural/art piece? What do you think is its significance?
It is a symbol of opportunity…it also has some hidden secrets.  The two trees represent the two trees that have stood in the same place since the old high school was here called, Old North.  That is a little fun fact.

Would you say the the location of it–the freshman center– might have some special importance?
I think it was a huge blank space and we needed something aesthetically pleasing.

Considering your perspective and your experiences at Carmel High School, what does this piece of art mean to you?
It is what greets every frosh as they enter the center and it is a representation of CHS and what a wonderful place this is.

ART TEACHER LINDA LUTES

How would you interpret this mural/art piece? What do you think is its significance?
This mural is so colorful that every time I am in the Freshmen Cafeteria my eye is drawn to it. I think it is very whimsical and it does make me smile. The mural is cheerful.
The significance or how I interpret it is one of fantasy. You can look at the mural and not see everything there is in the mural. Go to the cafeteria the next time and see something different.
That makes this mural really fun.

Would you say the the location of it–the freshman center– might have some special importance?
I don’t know if there is any special reason it was put in the Freshmen cafeteria. Like I said, I’m not sure if someone paid for this (private) or if the Carmel Clay school system paid for it.
I hope the students that sit in this cafeteria look at it and appreciate it.

Considering your perspective and your experiences at Carmel High School, what does this piece of art mean to you?
I wish I had more contact with this mural because I do enjoy looking at it when I’m in the freshmen cafeteria. I would like to see something like this out in a more public area-in the library or in the lobby by the main office.

SENIOR VIKAS MATURI

You said you are both an arts and engineering student. Please elaborate.
I’d consider myself an art and engineering student because both impact the way I think. Throughout high school, I’ve taken several engineering classes and been a part of technology/design based organizations, such as Design for CHS and TechHOUNDS Robotics. More recently, I’ve started taking classes such as Drawing and IB Visual Art that are definitely arts-based. However, I think both fields are definitely more interconnected than people think.

How would you interpret this mural/art piece? What do you think is its significance?
I’ve always thought that this mural was one of the coolest pieces at the school. As a freshman, I would try to look for the word that was supposedly hidden inside. Now, I just see it as a mural that can never really be interpreted. I’m sure, when it was created, the artists has a clear idea of what they were trying to represent – maybe the CHS culture, the city of Carmel, or something more generic. But the abstract nature gives each person the freedom to see what they want in the piece.

Would you say the the location of it–the freshman center– might have some special importance?
I don’t think its location in the freshman center necessarily means anything. It may have just been the place with the most open, vertical space where nothing else useful could really be hung.

Considering your perspective and your experiences at Carmel High School, what does this piece of art mean to you?
To me, I think this piece represents Carmel as a whole. Obviously, not every activity or team or class is represented on the mural. But I feel that it really represents the idea that each student at Carmel can make their experience interesting and unique for themselves. I know that I have been able to make an experience for myself that focuses on my kind of obscure interests, from engineering and art to community service and design.

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Laxmi Palde