A once blank brick wall at the mouth of D hall in Granger High School has been adorned with an enormous 32-panel oil painting.
“Literacy Will Set You Free” was created last spring by students in Elizabeth Matthews’ art classes. Inspired by the work of abstract artist Julie Mehretu, students used a layering technique to create the collaborative painting that addresses the challenges of combining books and technology for literacy.
Each student drew a stack of books being caught up in a storm on their panel.
Students used contemporary composition tools to make decisions about where to place pop images of technology.
Students added simplified bird shapes flying through layers of books and technology debris representing “the freedom that literacy will provide those who stay engaged and learn instead of giving up.”
“Those who worked on the project expressed gratitude to have the opportunity to participate in creating something full of meaning and purpose,” Matthews said. “Creating this painting led to many conversations about what literacy is and why it is valuable.”
Through a collaboration with the Utah Cultural Celebration Center (UCCC), the panels were exhibited at West Fest, the West Valley Library, the UCCC, and the Salt Lake City Library during 2014.