New murals painted in Kevonian’s room


Seniors Zoie Garrett and Sadie Heman’s mural, featuring references from multiple different stories such as the dragon from “Beowulf” and the island from “Lord of the Flies,” is underway in room 235. The mural takes up al- most the entire space above the window and is expect- ed to be completed soon. Photo by Abby Williams

Abby Williams, Editor in Chief

Teachers decorate their classrooms in all sorts of different ways. Some are scattered with bright pictures and posters, while others are more minimalist. Some even have strips of LED lights across the walls.

Others, however, decorate their classroom with the help of artistically talented students at Utica, such as seniors Zoey Lawrence, Sadie Heman, and Zoie Garrett, who are painting murals in teacher Melissa Kevonian’s classroom.

Room 235 previously had multiple unfinished murals on the walls.

“Previously, Mrs. Kevonian’s classroom had some murals started on there already,” Lawrence said. “Basically, what we’re doing is painting over them with what was originally intended. They were never finished because of COVID-19.”

The new murals will have the same general idea as the old, unfinished ones.

“It was actually mostly blank,” Heman said. “There were only a few sketches on it because the students never got to finish it. It was a very similar concept, it was also about literature.”

Lawrence’s mural depicts the 1949 dystopian novel “1984.”

“I’m working on a ‘1984’ themed mural,” Lawrence said. “It’s supposed to be a black and gray painting of an important character in the book. It has a bright red background that says ‘Big Brother is watching’ in big, bold letters.”

The other two students’ murals feature similarly famous works.

“The main part of the composition is about the books that she has taught in class. We have the dragon from ‘Beowulf ’ and the map from ‘Lord of the Flies’,” Heman said.

The project began after a conversation with Kevonian.

“I recently was a part of last year’s musical, and I did a lot of the artwork for that,” Garrett said. “I was really interested in big mural paintings, and I currently have a friend in Mrs. Kevonian’s class. She heard Mrs. Kevonian talking about how she really wanted her murals redone, so I reached out because I was a previous student of hers. We discussed it, and we got together to repaint this mural for her.”

Lawrence joined the project after being approached by Heman and Garrett. “Zoie and Sadie were talking in my AP art class,” Lawrence said. “They were talking about how they get to paint this mural in Mrs. Kevonian’s, but they said they’re not really good at painting portraits of people. I told them that I’m good at painting people, so they let me join them since they had a lot to do already.”

The project is expected to take a while for the students to finish.

“We started it a few months ago and we’ve been going every Tuesday and Thursday,” Garrett said, “so we’ll probably be finished around a week or two from now. We’re pretty close to the deadline.”

Lawrence, Garrett, and Heman are enjoying the experience and opportunity.

“It’s been pretty fun,” Garrett said. “Some days have been harder than others because of motivation, but we usually leave feeling quite proud of ourselves.”

To an artist, having an opportunity like this is important.

“I like being able to paint this mural because I actually get to show off my work,” Lawrence said. “Not enough art is shown in classroom environments. A lot of classrooms are just blank, white rooms. I think it’s important to have some sort of art in the room to keep it different and not as boring for everyone.”

The project is important to Heman, as it makes up for something she had to miss out on in middle school.

“At my middle school, my art teacher would give students ceiling tiles from her classroom to paint,” Heman said. “I was going to do that, but because of the pandemic, my class never got to do it. I feel like this is sort of redemption from that.”

Lawrence believes Utica should consider adding more murals to their classrooms.

“I think Utica should add more murals, and that students should be the ones to do it,” Lawrence said. “I know that leaving a mark on the school is something most kids want to do. They want to have something to remember their time there.”