By MATT SANDERSON
The chain link fence that wraps around Thomas Starr King Middle School will be turned into a wall of art under an ambitious mural project that is about to get underway.
Organizers say they have approached such artists as Shepard Fairey and Kim West about creating some of the 184 mural panels The four-foot by eight-foot panels would be hung from fencing along Bates Avenue, Sunset Drive, Manzanita Street and inside the school in front of garbage bins.
“Its’ a celebration of King [Middle School] in the neighborhood,” said organizer Paul Yi of the campus on the border of Los Feliz and Silver Lake. “You’ll see a tremendous impact on the whole neighborhood.”
The murals – which will be made from vinyl graphic banners, chalkboard and painted artwork – will be protected from the weather and graffiti with plastic. Yi figures the first batch of 15 to 20 murals will will help spread the word of what’s to come. The Silver Lake Neighborhood Council approved $2,500 in funding for the Friends of King Middle School mural project.
“This is a great urban art project,” Yi added. “It’s kind of a big scale for not a lot of money.”
Yi said the dialogue with the local artists began when Renae Plant, Friends of King board member and treasurer, put the word out to her network. Friends of Franklin Avenue Elementary School and Friends of Ivanhoe Elementary School have taken on similar art panel projects.
The project is part of the overall beautification efforts by Friends of King to transform the physical campus to reflect the ongoing transformation of King. Last year, King became a full magnet school, and is undergoing a positive academic, social and cultural transformation, according to the funding proposal submitted to the neighborhood council. In addition to the art panels, L.A. Unified has committed to repaint the front of the school facing Hyperion Avenue, and the art panel project will extend the beautification to the other three streets bordering King.
In a Dec. 1 letter to the SLNC, Principal Mark Naulls writes, “there has been a tremendous surge of community and parental involvement to our school that continues to grow and attract new and enthusiastic supporters.”
Matt Sanderson has been a journalist, photographer and digital media producer for nearly eight years. A native of Rhode Island, he received his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of New Hampshire and moved to Los Angeles in 2012 through a job transfer with Patch.com/AOL.