Hockaday Art Students Create a Mural for Renowned Chef’s Restaurant

When a group of 10 Hockaday students met directly with renowned chef Kent Rathbun on Jan. 19, it was clear that plans for the outdoor mural of Rathbun’s Blue Plate are well underway. Welcoming of and interested in the students ideas, Rathbun provided the students with a meal as they asked him questions and discussed the project. Juliette McCullough, the art teacher helping the girls with the project, says that Rathbun “was ready to give the girls a chance.”

According to junior Megan, a student working on the project, “He gave us great inspiration, but the direction is all up to us. This is a big responsibility.”

The students who will be creating the mural are the members of Hockaday’s Advanced Studio Art class. They are seniors Jackie, Jean and Shay and juniors Al, Hanna, Caitlin, Lily, Megan, Serena and Olivia.

Now in the designing process for the mural, the students in the class have each created two design concepts on a small scale. The girls are voting in class on the designs they like the best. They will present the three favorites to Rathbun, and he will make a decision.

“We are each working together to find a design that will be extremely eye catching from Preston Road, while conveying the ideas and concepts of the restaurant,” says Olivia. McCullough has faith in her students and is convinced that the girls will come up with a concept that will “just blow you away.”

Visual Arts Chair, Susan Sanders, who has helped facilitate meetings and help organize and support the efforts of Ms. McCullough’s art class in being able to work on this project

While creating their designs, the girls have been researching the materials they would need to make the mural. It has been important to look at the physical size and composition of the wall while thinking about the design—for example, the wall itself is two stories high. In addition, the girls have been experimenting with different ideas about the material that they will use to create the mural. This is especially important because the mural will be painted on an outdoor wall. Olivia explains, “The material has to be sturdy enough to withstand any weather condition throughout the year.”

Since there is not time for the students to travel down to the restaurant every class period, the girls will have to work with the materials in the Hockaday art room.

“It’s still in discussion on how it is going to happen,” says McCullough on what materials the girls will use, but she is excited to see what her students come up with. “I know they are going to come up with the goods. I know them and I know what they are capable of. I think [Rathbun] is going to be pleasantly surprised.”

The class is excited to embark on the project.

“We are finally applying everything we’ve explored about design, economy and expression to a real life situation and that will require a lot from us,” says Megan, “but it will be the most appropriate test we could take.”

Olivia agrees. “This is an amazing opportunity, and we’re all anxious to see the end result.”

Lead Science Chair for eighth through twelfth grades, Barb Fishel attended the meeting with the girls with Rathbun and supports the idea of the mural, “I hope this will be the beginning of many such interactions between our students and the community, not just with art, but in every way we can imagine and could make it happen.”