By Marilyn Huerta
Students at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) came together this spring semester, to facilitate mural painting projects that provided opportunities for students to connect, to cope and to communicate their grief over yet another school shooting. This mural was painted for Parkland, Florida, following the tragic shooting on Valentine’s Day this year when fourteen high school students and three employees were killed by bullets.
The murals for this occasion were not the first murals created at CSUSM and we’re sure they won’t be the last but research students majoring in Human Development, taught by Dr. Eliza Bigham, organized this particular project and they were confident that they made a positive difference in the lives of others. Students collaborated with the Art Miles non-profit on some of the murals, but the students were also challenged to conduct research and determine if and how art can help others heal and cope with tragedy and life conflicts. Their hypothesis was correct and their findings indicated that art does help people who create.
To organize this project, several tables were set up on the campus plaza and art materials were provided to students, faculty, and staff who were invited to paint a large mural that had been previously sketched out. No art experience was required and everyone was encouraged to participate.
One of the murals consisted of seventeen bird illustrations that represented each of the shooting victims that displayed their names. The murals were painted in bright, positive colors and students hoped that they would bring peace and comfort to those who participated in the project but also those who viewed it.
“We know that being able to express how you’re feeling is very much a way to heal,” said Jill Bullock, Human Development student. “Doing something like this is a collaborative effort because you’re working side by side with other individuals you’re interacting with and you feel as though you’re helping others.”
Human Development Student Art Facilitators:
Eulalia Da Rosa
Media project videos:
For more information about Human Development research at CSUSM, please contact Dr. Eliza Bigham by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Public Affairs Communication Specialist II
California State University San Marcos
College of Education, Health & Human Services
email@example.com| 760-750-4306 | www.csusm/cehhs