Of four mural proposals given to head of school Lee Thomsen on March 4 by AP Studio Art students, only senior Bella Mathisen’s was approved. 

After going through nearly 50 designs, Mathisen chose a background of strips of color that weave together. This, according to Mathisen, represents “people coming together.” The foreground of the mural showcases contour drawings in a single line of “different faces with different features and angles,” Mathisen said. 

In her proposal, Mathisen wrote that “the colors combined with the varied faces and the symbolism of all being connected represent my view of Country Day. There are so many different people here, but this school brings us all together. This one line connects us all.”

Senior Mohini Rye’s mural design was “unorthodox,” she said. Rather than use a traditional flat canvas, Rye planned to paint an underwater scene on the undersides of the two arches at each end of the Frank Science Center — to the right of the physics classroom and the left of the chemistry classroom — mimicking a tunnel.   

Senior Mohini Rye’s mural mock-up. (Photo courtesy of Rye)

In Rye’s proposal, she wrote that she wanted to “bring color to an area that’s lacked any for a long time, as well as start the trend of putting art in hidden places.” 

Because of the nature of her proposal, Rye wouldn’t be able to transfer her design to a canvas, unlike the final two proposals: senior Sophie Naylor’s and senior Tori Van Vleck’s. 

Naylor’s design, she said, was an “abstract rendition that’s symbolic of Country Day’s education.” 

“I designed it to focus on Country Day ideals and had incorporated traditional learning with other modern aspects,” Naylor said. 

Senior Sophie Naylor’s mural mock-up. (Photo courtesy of Naylor)

Her proposal consisted of a Michelangelo-inspired figure sitting on the edge of a pool of water, representing Classical learning. Next to the figure would have been a globe within a cage, showing the unity of humans and their hardships. In the background would have been stairs, which represented moving into adult life.  

Lastly, Van Vleck proposed a design consisting of a face surrounded by shapes — representing growth, outreach and how people can shape their surroundings. She hoped to cover the wall in the alcove between Rooms 3 and 4. The mural was part of her plan to revamp that area as the senior gift, Van Vleck said.

—By Allison Zhang

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