Artists In Action: Minnetonka Students Finish Painting Diversity Murals

Adelaide Howland, Staff Writer

Mary Koenitzer, an art teacher at Minnetonka, and her students worked on the diversity murals at the high school. The murals are larger than life: four feet by six feet.

“I am a member of the school’s [Diversity, Equity and Inclusion] team and was struggling to find a place where I felt my skills and passions [were] reflected,” Koenizter said, “so I brainstormed what would make me most excited about changing the way the school community supported all students. I believe strongly that representation matters, and this can be done so beautifully and powerfully through the visual arts. I had seen posters of leaders of color on yard signs in my own community and had been reflecting on how representation builds stronger communities. This was the start of the Diversity Murals Project. The idea came up in January, and my goal for the first two murals featuring African-American leaders was to be finished by the end of Black History Month.” 

Something particularly intriguing about the murals is the calligraphy along the edges. Lucy Hiller, ‘23, who started a calligraphy club at MHS, wrote the calligraphy herself. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech is written out along the edge of his portrait. Amanda Gorman’s famous poem that she recited at Joe Biden’s inauguration is also written alongside her portrait. Koenitzer and her students plan to create more murals throughout the school year, and each one will be displayed in the Commons. 

“It was super fun to work on and watching it all come together was super cool. I am really looking forward to doing more,” said Claire Ward, ‘24.

Students do not need previous experience with visual arts to partake in the mural project. Members of the group stressed that anyone can join in and paint, regardless of artistic ability.

“We meet about 2-3 times a week and it’s basically a huge color by number,” said Ella Schindel, ‘22.

“So far over twenty students have helped work on the murals,” said Koenitzer. “I am looking for more students to be involved in future murals as well, so please stop by [room] 2307 if you are interested. No higher skill required. If you can paint a shape, you can be a part of this.”