John Burroughs High School unveiled their new, colorful pool deck murals on Wednesday, April 17, during the JBHS – BHS swim meet. Designed by senior Ella Jennings, who was also lead painter on the project, the murals came together in just a few weekends with the help of several Burroughs students and parents.
The pool deck murals are “an effort to beautify the pool deck and bring some school spirit,” commented JBHS Aquatics Board President Julie Thomas. “Our booster club… wanted to highlight and beautify the pool deck to reflect how hard our student athletes work. Make their home away from home inspiring and not just functional.”
Assistant Principal of Athletics and Activities, Robyn Anders, presented the sketches to BUSD administrators and the Board of Education, got approval for the murals and helped get the process underway.
Using a combination of District funds and JBHS Aquatic Booster funds, the pool deck beautification included costs for the mural painting (approximately $600 for supplies) and a new school record board to be dedicated in May.
Jennings, who has made a name for herself as an artist at Burroughs, was also a member of the JBHS water polo team for her freshman, sophomore and junior years.
“I knew what I wanted to do for the concept almost immediately since I was inspired by the intensity and fluid movement the players take in both swim team and water polo,” explained Jennings.
“The concept designs took about 10 hours from sketch to finished product. After they were approved by the School Board, scaling the designs up to mural size, sketching and painting them took two weeks with the help of volunteers.”
Those volunteers included sophomore sister Lottie Jennings, who is also a member of the JBHS water polo and swim teams, and sophomore members of the JBHS aquatic program Grace Mokracek, Chrissy Vlick, Emily Callahan, Sura Sohi, Tara Sohi, Maddie Spangler, Angie Lee and Bella Mucha.
Freshmen Evelyn Bresee and Bethany Salas, juniors Mallory Thomas and Bella Hedman and seniors Jaelynn Bijasa and Katie Vlick, also JBHS Aquatic program members, added their help with the paint brushes.
Jennings “had complete artistic direction in terms of design, overseeing the painting, delegating tasks and more refined aspects such as selecting paint colors and materials and embellishing the final details.”
“I was very grateful for the support of my art teacher, Mina Ho Ferrante, who advised me on the mural process, as well as the enthusiastic volunteers,” she said.
Jennings is available for commissioned art pieces and notes her current work can be found on her public Instagram account @ellaillustrates.
After graduation she plans to attend Westmont College in Montecito as an Art and Psychology double-major with the goal of becoming an art therapist. She also plans to attend graduate school, earn a doctorate degree and become a licensed art therapist.
“Designing and painting the murals was a wonderful opportunity,” Jennings added. “I am honored to leave my unique mark on the school, as well as to help inspire a greater appreciation of the JBHS Aquatics programs.”