John Muir Middle School unveiled “Hall of Heroes,” a new series of murals painted by local artist Randall Williams, at a ceremony on Thursday afternoon, October 8. Fifteen notable figures from throughout the world have been painted in large portrait-style in the school’s 100 hallway.
“I wanted to make each person really come to life in the paintings,” Williams commented. “I’ve been an artist all of my life and with this project, I wanted to have the students look at them and say, ‘wow.’”
“My hope is that these kids research these figures and learn more about them,” he continued. “I want [the portraits] to speak to them beyond the images.”
The notable leaders portrayed in the mural were selected by the teachers and administrators, and each portrait includes a quote to inspire students.
The Muir Middle School Hall of Heroes includes:
- Susan B. Anthony – Women’s Rights Activist
- Cesar Chavez – Civil Rights Activist
- Malala Yousafzai – Nobel Peace Prize Winner
- Frida Kahlo – Painter
- Helen Keller – Author/Political Activist
- Martin Luther King, Jr. – Activist/humanitarian
- Herman Melville – Novelist
- Little Richard – Song Writer and Musician
- Theodore Roosevelt – U.S. President
- Aung San Suu Kyi – Burmese Politician
- William Saroyan – Dramatist/Author
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton – Women’s Rights Activist/Abolitionist
- Harriet Tubman – Abolitionist
- Elie Wiesel – Writer/Political Activist
- John Muir – School Namesake and Naturalist/Author/Environmental Philosopher
Maha Bitar, ASB President, opened the program with the Pledge of Allegiance. The Muir Symphonic Band, led by Suzie Snell, performed the “Star Spangled Banner” and the Muir Imaginations choir, led by Lydia Lee, performed “This Land Is Your Land.”
Burbank High School twelfth-grader Brandon Kilham gave a presentation in the character of the school’s namesake, John Muir. A tribute to Little Richard, written by teachers Glen Jaffe and Steven Moos was performed by Jaffe, Moos, teacher Bill Esparza and eighth-grader Khalil Mansour.
The Muir Middle School Hall of Heroes was sponsored by Logix Federal Credit Union. The project took 11 weeks over the summer break to complete.
“We’re proud to have both Logix Federal Credit Union and Randall Williams partner with us again to create these portraits of historical leaders,” Principal Greg Miller said. “Our students will have the opportunity to see these people who made a difference and some still continue to improve the world. We’ve already incorporated their stories into our classroom conversations.”
In 2014, Logix sponsored a 5,000 square-foot mural of Yosemite, Yosemite Valley, in the sixth-graders lunch area. This piece was one of many that Williams has completed for Burbank Unified Schools and the largest mural in the City of Burbank.