There is no question that Patterson High School embraces the arts in their school. Known as the most culturally diverse school in Baltimore City, this school community has learned to incorporate the arts into daily learning in order to better engage and communicate with one another. So, it only makes sense that the hallways of the school reflect the pride, diversity, and creativity of those who walk through Patterson’s doors each day.
For those of you who didn’t already know, the Patterson High School building, originally built in 1960 and located in the Hopkins-Bayview Neighborhood, will be closing so that students can move into the new building currently under construction as part of the 21st Century Schools Program. Because of this, art teachers Nancy Holter and Alisha Marchewka have been working with their fellow teachers and students for the past 2 years to design and execute a vibrant series of painted murals, and art interventions that reflect the diverse student body and courses they attend becoming a collaborative tribute to Patterson’s home for the last 6 decades.
From the restroom doors to the stairways and almost every set of lockers in between- no surface in the school is overlooked, but each work of art is made with intention while providing a sense of pride and ownership for the students. Many of the murals are interactive and serve as an extension of the classroom. For example, next to the Psychology classroom is a mural of a young person’s face with the words “Everybody has secrets” in bold blue letters along with an invitation to place your “secrets” inside a locked locker. The statements are laminated by the teachers and placed on the mural where students can read the “secrets” from their peers. The psychology teacher shared how seeing other people’s confessions can put issues in perspective for some, remind students that they are not alone, or set up the learning opportunities and discussions relating to the lesson plan.
The creative ways that teachers and students have collaborated to activate the hallways of Patterson High School just goes to show how the arts can be used to celebrate diversity, overcome language barriers, and embrace school culture.
Other murals you can find in the hallways of Patterson High School:
Dragon Mural and Baltimore/Peace Mural
Teacher: Alisha Marchewka
Class: Fundamentals of Art
Chesapeake Bay Mural
Teachers: David Hopp and Alisha Marchewka
Class: ESOL Biology
World Flag Mural
Teachers: Amy Scruggs and Alisha Marchewka
Class: ESOL Language Arts II
Teachers: Eltenease Davis-Lee and Ivan Bluman
Class: Special Education Department
We Are The People Mural
Teachers: Stephen Frederick and Alisha Marchewka
Class: ESOL Government