The cafeteria wall at Garibaldi Secondary School (GSS) is getting a makeover, with the painting of a new mural.
It’s a project that has been in the works for the past two years by Brent McGimpsey, GSS’ teaching chef in charge of the school’s culinary arts program.
“We wanted to paint something on our wall in our cafeteria to make it a beautiful space that students wanted to be [in] and that they would enjoy,” he said, adding he wanted it to reflect who the students are.
Once McGimpsey had the idea for an inclusion mural, he began consulting staff and students on what sort of elements to include.
“There was a lot of stopping and starting and rethinking, saying, ‘OK, what do we really want this to be? What best represents inclusion at Garibaldi?’” he said.
The group brainstormed ideas, debating which elements to include. The result was a design including the iconic Golden Ears landscape, with word clouds, showcasing animals and different seasons.
“We came up with a word bank of inclusive words and caring words that represent our school community,” McGimpsey said.
Then it was time to find an artist. They turned to Jason Craft, a local artist who has painted murals in several schools across the community.
“Brent gave me a grocery list of ideas,” Craft said. “There are three elements in the mural that include word clouds. There’s a bear, there’s the water and the tree.”
Craft put together a draft based on the ideas and sent it to McGimpsey.
“They look at it, and usually they’ll say, ‘we like this, we like this, but could you change this?’ And that’s what we do. We just went back and forth over the period of a year, year and a half,” Craft said.
Eventually they arrived at the final design that is now being painted onto the wall of the cafeteria.
McGimpsey hopes students feel a sense of inclusion when they look at the finished product.
“I want students to be able to see themselves reflected in a part of the school, no matter who they are, no matter their belief, their sex, their gender, anything,” he said. “I want students to feel comfortable in their own skin and to enjoy being in the space.”