Haines High Schools recently debuted at a community event with a mural in the skate park. As Corinne Smith from KHNS reports, the student’s outdoor art project also had a contact with vandalism, which was a learning experience for the young artists.
There is tangible excitement in the air as students, families, teachers and friends gathered on a chilly autumn evening to view the Haines art students’ skate park wall project. There’s food, music, and catch-up as it’s also one of the first community events since a recent COVID surge last month.
“It’s so beautiful. I’m so happy that people come here to see our pieces,” said senior Trygve Bakky overlooks the large indoor skate park while skaters pass by and younger children play on the ramps.
âWe have been working on it since the end of August and beginning of September. It was an entire course that we all took that describes the process of how to spread artwork via graffiti and how we do that legally. Write a suggestion to the district, explain what we did, âsaid Bakky.
The class, led by art teacher Giselle Miller and assisted by local artist Jeremy Setem, involved developing proposals with designs and budgets presented to the district ideas.
Now the walls and ramps are adorned with different colorful paintings in different styles and sections.
“I was working on the universe painting over there, it was a lot of fun,” said Bakky, pointing to a large ramp.
In addition to the planets in orbit, there is a large formline killer whale. It is one of several works of art that were previously there and incorporated, like a multi-colored face painted by a Haines youth, Mario Benassi Jr., who tragically died in a river accident in California a few years ago. In addition, there is now a new mural of Benassi, who sings and plays the guitar.
Freshman Hayden Jimenez stops skating to entertain himself. He predicts that the skate park was kind of forgotten, there was trash and lots of penis drawings, it might even be intimidating for some. It’s a lot more fun now.
“Yeah, a lot more fun, more energy in general in the skate park,” said Jimenez. “Yes, there are some pretty cool and talented artists and works of art.”
A striking woman can be seen in profile on one wall, wearing a mask and shedding a dark blue tear.
“I like Pop Art a lot, that was the inspiration for it,” said senior Aubrey Cook, the artist. She thought about what it was like to exhibit her work in public.
âI think it was so cool, I’ve never done a piece like this. Especially this big one, I’ve never done such a big piece, âsaid Cook. âIf you had come here before it was just a bunch of graffiti all over the place with inappropriate things, but now it’s a really nice place. And we’ve all learned that it’s a living space to breathe, which means that at some point it will be obscured by other people’s artwork, but we’re really grateful that we had this opportunity to paint. “
And it was a tough lesson. During the course project, some parts were partially vandalized and had to be repainted. Art teacher Giselle Miller says there were excuses and the class addressed the situation together.
“That’s part of street art, that’s part of graffiti, is that it changes and evolves,” Miller said. âI think it is also very important to teach students this impermanence. I’ve made a few big pieces and they don’t exist anymore, so the documentation is very important and part of the process. “
Miller says she is incredibly proud of her personal and artistic growth.
The community can now view the students’ works of art in the Haines skate park.