The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

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‘Gordyland’ mural shows ’60s trends

Student-designed mural brought in class collaboration
Miles Wilczak
PAINTING PSYCHEDELICS. A group of students from Sunny Neater’s third period Studio Art class works on the Electric Gordyland mural on the second floor of Gordon Parks Arts Hall. The students had the chance to fully design this mural, choosing its colors, style and elements to include. This allowed the class to get firsthand art experience.

Swirls of carefully coordinated color dance across the wall. A group of students huddle together debating their next steps. At a closer look one can see lightly penciled sketches spanning the length of the wall. Paint brushes and palettes cover the floor, as the students continue their work. A gradient of rainbow colors span the wall outlining shapes and words. 

The Studio Art elective art class has been commissioned to create a mural for the new music recording studio in Gordon Parks Art Hall. The studio is to be called “Electric Gordyland” a nod to “Electric Ladyland,” the recording studio of Jimi Hendrix. 

While murals painted in U-High are typically required to be completed within a day, fine arts teacher Sunny Neater was able to get her class special permission to work on the mural over a longer span of time. 

Ms. Neater wanted the process of her class painting the mural to occur as it does in the real world. The class had multiple meetings to figure out what the mural was to represent. Then there was a research process followed by detailed work in sketching and finally painting. 

“It was a lot of back and forth with just making sure we had what they envisioned,” Ms. Neater said. “Students would take various critiques and recommendations to tweak certain aspects of the mural.”

Class member Lucie Bhatoey-Bertran said the process was collaborative. Whether it was finding a color palette, measuring the wall outside the recording studio or researching the context behind the mural, everyone had a delegated job. 

“The whole process has been a really great experience,” Lucie said. “I’m learning a lot about history and art.”

Studio Music teacher Francisco Dean commissioned the mural and explained that the music recording studio draws inspiration from the psychedelia conveyed in Jimi Hendrix’s music and recording style. 

“We found that Jimi Hendrix’s vibe really matched what we wanted the studio to represent to begin with,” Mr. Dean said.

Swirls of bright color light up the hallway, and students quietly work on bringing to life the essence of the music studio: a welcoming place for all to explore their passions and interests in music.

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About the Contributors
Zara Siddique
Zara Siddique, Sports & Leisure Editor
Zara Siddique is a member of the Class of 2024 and serves as the sports and leisure editor. She joined the journalism family in the 2021-22 school year as a sophomore. Her favorite part of journalism is getting to meet new people. Her favorite story she has written is “Qatar sparks controversy as World Cup host.” Outside of journalism, she enjoys playing tennis, reading and listening to music. Awards: 2024 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: Second place (with Sahana Unni), photo layout: full page (Page 3) 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, San Francisco convention: Superior, commentary writing
Miles Wilczak
Miles Wilczak, Photographer
Miles Wilczak is a beginning photojournalist and a member of the Class of 2026. His favorite part of photojournalism is the creative freedom. Outside of class, Miles likes to go to concerts, watch movies and hang out with friends.

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