The Joy Multiplier Project


The completed mural (Credit: Eleanor Shaw)

Eleanor Shaw

When one thinks of bright positivity, the first thing that comes to mind is more than likely not a high school. However, seeking to bring more light and joy into students’ lives, Centreville High School’s very own Art and Design 2 class has crafted a beautiful mural to light up the halls of our building, titling this the “Joy Multiplier Project.”
Led by their teacher, Mrs. Rory Marcaccio Schaffer, the class was inspired by Jen Stark, a West Coast artist who specializes in creating interactive and colorful pieces of art. Stark’s work has been featured in architecture, museums, and in public spaces, primarily found in Los Angeles, California.

Students prepare the mural (Credit: Eleanor Shaw)

Describing their piece as being composed of “drippy rainbows,” the class found inspiration not only in Stark’s work, but in external influences. For instance, Margaret, a 10th grader and member of the class, felt that she was compelled to take elements of the approaching holiday of Halloween.

The mural was created by several sheets of paper, each decorated by a student, full of patterns and designs with varying colors that emulate the aforementioned “drippy rainbow” appearance. When these individual pieces were compiled together, they formed a beautiful environment full of vibrancy. Concerning the finished piece, one student, a 10th grader named Gaby, went on to say “I think it looks really good ‘cause all of the colors are mixed together and everyone’s artwork is being put together … [N]ot everything is the same and everything is different.”

Students decorate their “drippy rainbows” (Credit: Eleanor Shaw)

Inside of the classroom, the optimistic spirit of the project seemed to have an effect on the students. One student, William, a 10th grader, noticed that, throughout the creative process, the Joy Multiplier Project provided a way to “[get] to know new people in the class,” further promoting a unified environment and atmosphere.

Two students show off their works in progress (Credit: Eleanor Shaw)

While creating their pieces, as previously mentioned, the students desired to introduce more joy into the lives of their peers. Another 10th grader in the Art and Design 2 class, Katia, when asked about the purpose of this project, stated “[we’ve] tried to put a lot of thought into it and I hope it’ll put smiles on people’s faces as they walk by in the halls.”