Tam creates captivating mural to celebrate diversity, unity

Tam+creates+captivating+mural+to+celebrate+diversity%2C+unity

By Kelsey Cook, Reporter

Tamalpais High School completed a large, beautiful mural, which is a landscape of Mt. Tam using spray-painted outlines of students’ hands on the side of the Keyser building last Friday, June 2.

Seniors Genie Wolin and Aylin Curtis have embarked on a remarkable journey to bring about a positive change in their school community. After the community witnessed the vandalism of a social justice art installation at the front of their school in June 2020, they were inspired to create something powerful and unifying. 

“Just watching the mural come together and seeing all of our work manifest into this art piece is so rewarding. It’s the best feeling ever because we put so much work into this,” Wolin said.

The idea came to us sophomore year in June 2020, Curtis said. Their vision became a reality with the completion of a captivating mural that celebrates diversity and promotes unity among the students and staff. 

Photo by Kelsey Cook

“Being passionate about social justice, we wondered what we could do as a part of leadership to broaden the Tam High community to strengthen the school community,” Wolin said. 

The process to develop the inspiration for the mural was a collaborative effort, seeking input from students and staff was important to Wolin and Curtis.

 “We first brought the idea to Dr. [former Principal J.C.] Farr, who was extremely onboard and supportive of the project,” Wolin said. They had workshops open to anyone at Tam in May 2022 to gather basic ideas for the mural and gauge interest, they also held booths at the community events such as Diversity Day and Tam Unity Day. 

“ We sent out surveys to our entire student body, gathering over 500 responses,” Wolin said. 

Next, Curtis and Wolin presented their project proposal to the district to get the final approval before painting. They worked with the Introverts Collective and Raylee Gorum, who was the lead artist throughout the entire process. 

“Our artist, Raylee Gorum is a Bay Area artist who has art installations and exhibitions all across the world. She spearheaded the All Our Children United Mural that extends throughout the tunnel from Marin City to Sausalito,” Wolin explained.

Wolin and Curtis gave the input from their workshop to their artist, Gorum, who composed a design on repeating themes seen within the students’ input. 

“The colors within the mountain represent different skin tones within our community. The sun above the mountain is a symbol of light,” Wolin said. 

“The image of Mt. Tam, Tam High School’s namesake is a strong symbol of solidarity and strength. In this mural, Mt. Tam is created by the hands of the student body. The hand is a powerful symbol of reaching out and up,” lead artist Gorum said. She then explained how it’s part of how people greet each other, hold each other and “build our world together,” she continued. 

“When people put their hand prints up they can always recognize it and feel like they contributed,” Curtis said. With the help of the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA), Good Earth, and The Introverts Collective donating collectively around $10,000, their dreams became a reality. 

“One thing for me that was stressful is that we started working with a different artist at the beginning of this year, but she decided to not continue with the project because she didn’t think there was enough input and support from the school. Thankfully we recovered from that and got a bunch of feedback,” she said.

Wolin and Curtis hope the mural can strengthen the school community with not only the meaning behind the design but through the process of the installation as well. Wolin and Curtis explained how the joint effort of having students put their handprints on the mountains is a unifying experience within itself. 

“It allows all students to come together and contribute to this art piece that’s message will be carried through Tam’s community for many years to come,” Wolin said.