A gift to Mundelein High School from its graduating senior class is a genuine masterpiece. The class of 2021 is donating a 20’ x 15’ mural on an interior wall designed by one of its own members. The mural is expected to be installed shortly after school resumes for the fall semester.
After polling the class to find out how to spend money raised for a senior gift, the students recognized that their high school days were a radical departure from the typical experience with homecoming, theme dances, theatrical and band productions and spectator events. Senior Class President Sucely Marcos said her peers wanted their gift to symbolize significant events including the unprecedented pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement and heightened social justice awareness.
“We brainstormed ideas, and the standard park bench didn’t seem to fit,” Marcos said. “We considered a large rock that each student could sign. But as we walked around our building we realized we wanted to put something new on the walls to reflect the challenges we’d faced.”
A talent search ensued to identify a student artist to create the mural, and the 500 plus-member class selected graduating senior Brian Carranza’s design. His 24” x 24” drawing, titled “Behind The Mustang,” is now being enlarged by Visual Image Photography (VIP), of Wisconsin, to fill an interior wall that serves as a gateway to the music department.
Carranza is an experienced, self-taught artist, having completed numerous “time travel” family portraits that have been featured in his zoom image when he would log on to classes. Despite the fact that many of his family members live in different places, and some have passed away, Carranza fills his canvases with stylized faces of his nearest and dearest.
Carranza’s style, what he calls “Bri Style,” is reflected in the design for the school mural. It features nearly 100 oval heads of real and imagined people connected to Mundelein High School. Front and center is Maverick the Mustang, MHS mascot. Carranza hopes viewers reflect on their appreciation for the people they encounter.
“I want them to see that here at Mundelein everybody is welcome because we are all human and unique,” he said. “Really appreciate these people that are around you growing up and see that you should cherish the memories in life.”
Principal Anthony Kroll explained that the senior gift is a fairly new concept at Mundelein High School. He was impressed with Carranza’s design.
“There were a few details I never initially noticed, like how to wear a mask,” Kroll said. “I was overjoyed to see his representation of what was important to MHS and the Village of Mundelein. The individuals depicted included students, staff, cafeteria workers, custodians, himself and a board of education member. In his words, Brian expressed that these individuals represented the life and mission of the school.”
This is not the first wrap mural to be installed at MHS. A year-and-a-half ago, Mundelein High School became a national and international sensation when the English department placed oversized images of popular book titles on floor-to-ceiling wraps surrounding classroom entryways, creating the illusion that giant books supported the walls.