Over 150 high schoolers took part in an art event last week. Called “Tearing Walls Apart,” the event took place from Sept. 20-23 at the Mansion Inn (700 16th Street, 95814). High School students from 47 different high schools participated, expressing themselves through graffiti and art. Seniors Bella Mathisen and Sophie Naylor and junior Jason Li all participated in the event.

Mansion Inn, which is the building the students were painting, was originally designed and built in 1958 by the architecture firm Dreyfuss and Blackford. In 2012 the hotel shut down. Since then, it has remained shuttered in, until it was acquired by SKK Development and The Grupe Company. These companies plan to recreate the hotel as a modern inn with retro art, according to the Tearing Walls Apart and Dreyfuss and Blackford websites.

Demolition and reconstruction of the inn will likely begin later this year, according to the Dreyfuss and Blackford website.

Students had the opportunity to decorate the abandoned hotel’s walls before the hotel is renovated. They painted the walls of the 46 rooms in the hotel, as well as the floor and walls of the swimming pool.

Seniors Bella Mathisen and Sophie Naylor and junior Jason Li all participated in the event.

“(The students) had four days to install their artwork,” AP Studio Art teacher Andy Cunningham said. “Then (the hotel) was available to view for one day,”

“It wasn’t just painting – there were some sculptural installations, so it was more of an experience.”

Cunningham also acted as a mentor. He was present at the hotel, helping the artists decide what they wanted to express through art.

Mathisen made a display including paintings and sculptures in one of the hotel’s rooms, while Naylor and Li decorated the walls and floor of the pool.

“It was a large pool with a deep end and stairs, which made for lots of surface area to paint,” Naylor said.

“But Jason and I managed to finish it in only a couple of days. We painted a geometrical design with bright colors (giving it a) sense of illusion.”

The entire event was about expression through art. While many students took to decorating the plain walls, others showed their talents off through music and dancing.

“I chose to be a part of Tearing Walls Apart over the summer since I hadn’t done much art outside of the classroom in a while,” Naylor said.

There were many sponsors for the event. Blick Art Materials, a local art supply store, supplied the students with paint and brushes.

By Arijit Trivedi

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