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The NAHS Mural with Calo Rosa

Amy Park

NAHS and art students have painted student-designed murals throughout many locations and over several years. On Nov. 28, NAHS began working on a new mural in the glass stairwell.

This mural in particular is special because it was in collaboration with a professional muralist, Calo Rosa, who is highly involved with the Philadelphia Mural Arts Project. Ms. Ellert, visual arts teacher and NAHS faculty advisor, first came up with the idea last year to bring in a professional artist as a great learning experience for the students and herself. Ms. Ellert says, “I knew that this would be a more valuable experience for kids […] to be able to learn and have an opportunity to work with a professional artist.” 

In the Spring of 2023, Ms. Ellert applied for an HHEF, Hatboro-Horsham Educational Foundation, grant to bring in a professional and she received exciting news that it had gotten accepted.

By contacting the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, she was able to get connected with Calo Rosa in the summer and ask if he was interested in working with students. Through email, Ms. Ellert and Calo Rosa planned the design of the mural and the students were able to work with him 4 times in person.

During the first meeting with Calo Rosa, students were able to listen to the muralist describe how a lot of his designs are influenced by the scenery and vibrant colors of South America. Similarly, the graffiti style seen in a lot of his works is supposed to replicate the feeling of working on the streets of San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador. 

This mural’s design incorporates his signature style: plants such as the bird-of-paradise native to South America and bold, vibrant colors. Ms. Ellert believes that this mural, while not student-designed, served as more of a learning experience than an experience where students work together as experts.

The location of the mural was chosen due to its great lighting, high traffic, and lack of art surrounding it as it is towards the back of the school. Since many people pass by the area, NAHS hopes to bring energy and joy to that part of the school. Ms. Ellert remarks about the mural, “It’s something big and impactful in an area that needed it.”

When asked why she worked on this mural with fellow NAHS students, Chloe Boer, a junior and the NAHS president, said, “To improve the school. I think every time we do another mural it improves the atmosphere of the school.”

Another NAHS member and senior, Sadie Van Tassel, reflects how the mural’s design can also serve to be more inclusive towards the immigrant students and the Latin community. Sadie says, “[The mural] is not from student design and I think that helps because as a mural that is more representation of a culture and heritage we’re not from, it helps us paint a wider array of experiences that we originally wouldn’t have been able to.”

NAHS and art students came in during Lunch & Learn periods from late November through January to work on the mural. The ladders and scaffolding were provided for the large-scale design.

Chloe Boer said, “As president, I usually try to go every day just to help paint it and sketch it out. Even if I can’t paint it, I go to at least observe it, making sure everything is going okay and smoothly.”

Sadie, who also contributed by painting during lunches and mornings, says, “I think students should know we worked really hard on it. It’s a piece of art that is not just cool to look at, it helps the atmosphere of the school. And whenever they pass the school, they should just look at it and appreciate it.”

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About the Contributor
Amy Park
Amy Park, Staff Reporter
What is a favorite hobby of yours: Reading and art What do you look forward to working with The Hat Chat: I look forward to spreading the word about events, activities, and things I'm passionate about within the school community. I also hope to strengthen my writing skills by writing and receiving feedback outside of school work. What would you like to study in college: Not sure yet! What's an interesting fact about yourself: I'm bilingual! I can fluently speak English and Korean. I also love The Smiths with a passion, and I know how to play a lot of the riffs on guitar!

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