Building Community Through Murals

Jeff Hartman wanted his students to learn the history of their neighborhood, including the history of the murals in the El Rio Community Center and downtown Tucson. He connected with Jenna Tomasella, a local muralist in order to use that knowledge as they worked with a local muralist to design, paint, and hang a mural at the school.

Students took two field trips to see local murals and watched several videos that described neighborhood history and the role of local muralists in creating community. Following that, the class brainstormed ideas about what to include and a small group of students worked with the muralist to design the mural.

Project length

7 months



  • The best thing about the project was seeing a small group of students become excited about working with a muralist to make this happen.

    HS Teacher
  • I was scared to argue with her (the muralist) at first, but then I realized it was our mural and our school so I started telling her what I thought should be in it. She was nice and she listened.

    10th Grade Student
  • I never realized you could make money doing something like this.

    10th Grade Student

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