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The Coat of Arms

The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

Menlo Art Club Creates Murals for Stent Hall

Claire Yao
Sophomore Eisha Yadav paints the dragon mural.

Upon entering Stent Hall’s ballroom, visitors to Menlo notice the walls featuring colorful paintings and murals. An eye-catching new addition hangs across from the piano: a brilliant red dragon created in honor of the Lunar New Year. Menlo’s Art Club, currently co-led by sophomores Diya Karthik, Eisha Yadav and Claire Yao, created this piece. The dragon mural is the Art Club’s first large, collaborative work this year. While the club has created murals in past years — many can be found around campus — painting a mural was a new experience for most members.

The club members began by meeting up a few times in December to draw drafts on a smaller sheet of paper. “Since it was a four by four panel, we thought it was a good idea to kind of make the dragon kind of circular, yet kind of twisting,” Yao said. 

The undertaking of painting a dragon was daunting, but Yadav was excited for the research and execution. “Dragons are really cool to paint,” Yadav said. “Nina [Ollikainen, club advisor and art teacher] has experience with painting traditional Chinese dragons, and it was really a fun research project to look more into and learn about how to paint a traditional Chinese dragon.”

The Art Club coordinated a December meeting on a long weekend to begin painting. “We worked on it for, I would say, five hours,” Yao said. “Nina and I mostly worked on it during [art class] or after school.” The mural was finished in early February

“There was a lot of procrastination,” Yao said. “In the beginning, I would say the drafting took a couple of hours. The painting took definitely the majority of time.” 

Nina Ollikainen handled the placement of the finished mural. Upon learning that the dragon mural would be placed in the Stent Hall ballroom, club members were elated. “Nina told us […] and we were like, ‘Wait, that’d be so awesome,’” Yao said. “Because I actually come [into the Stent Hall ballroom] all the time.” 

Club member Melina Morales Lemus shared the sentiment. “I felt incredibly happy and quite honored,” Morales Lemus said. “Having a painting I worked on being placed next to the other paintings in Stent was awesome.”

The club hopes to continue creating more cultural murals, and Morales Lemus and Yadav said that the club was planning to create a mural depicting the national birds of Latin American countries. “[Morales Lemus] and I were thinking about embodying Latin American culture in a mural,” Yadav said, “We were thinking of doing almost like a tropical forest with a lot of birds that’s symbolizing the diversity of the culture of Latin America.”

The Art Club’s recent work in mural creation is something of a revival. Towards the end of the 2022-23 school year, the Art Club’s activity slowed down. “[Art Club] slowly died down a little bit,” Yadav said. “After last year, we all decided that Art Club is something that we really need to be a thing at Menlo, because all of us really love the arts.”

Yadav believes that a reason for the Art Club’s resurgence this year is the ability to distribute responsibility between co-leaders. “I guess the problem is that we get so busy in junior and senior years, and then the leaders had less time [last year], though I think they worked really hard to keep the club in action,” Yadav said. “It’s better that now we have co-leaders, so if one of us is busy, we can manage the work together.”

Meetings consist of either unstructured time to create art or a group activity for which the co-leaders will send an email about prior. “Really, we just want to make sure that our fellow artists are showcased, so that they have a platform to connect with each other,” Yadav said.

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About the Contributor
Miki Kimura
Miki Kimura, Head Copy Editor

Number of years in The Coat of Arms: 2

Favorite aspect of journalism: Learning new things about the Menlo community through interviews

Interests outside of school: art, music, anime, reading, writing, spending time with friends and family

Class of 2025

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