One America - Diversity/Harmony Mural Project

Program: Diversity/Harmony Mural Project, Van Nuys, CA
Contact(s): Alfredo Tarin, Principal: (818) 345-5446
Purpose: To help students become critical thinkers who have a strong sense of community and tolerance and an understanding of diversity and harmony

Background Program Operations Outcomes


In 1997, the Mulholland Middle School created their Diversity/Harmony Mural Project in response to a need for diversity and harmony awareness in their community. The project reflects the school's belief that prevention costs less and lasts longer than reactive remedies. The project is part of the school's 21st Century Skills Program which was initiated in 1994 to assist students transitioning into an English language learning environment. The program goals expanded with projects like the Diversity/Harmony Mural Project to give students an understanding of the diverse cultures that make up the United States.

Program Operations

The mural project is a joint effort between the middle school's language arts and visual arts faculty. (It began in 1997 and will be completed in May of 1999.) The process began with the language arts instructors teaching their six through eighth graders about diversity and harmony. The students read about and discussed these issues in class, and ultimately wrote their own definitions of diversity. The visual arts teachers assist the students in designing a mural based on the these themes, and the art classes create ceramic tiles that serve as the building blocks for the mural. The student's families and other community members are also involved in this process as they too write definitions of diversity and harmony for the mural. Students paint these definitions onto the tiles and work together to design and assemble the tiles into a mural that will cover one whole side of their school building. The school has gotten a local artist involved to work with the students on the design and completion of the mural. The completed mural will be the center piece of a school-wide community-wide diversity celebration in May 1999.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

Through the Mulholland School's mural project, students acquire a new understanding of the issues of diversity and harmony. The students mobilize themselves around these issues and learn how to work together as a team. Their final project, the dynamic vibrant mural on their school building, is visible for a three block radius and serves as a symbol of their understanding, and as a positive message to the community.

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