John Muir Middle School unveiled a mural of Yosemite Valley on Monday, which also marked the birthday of the school’s namesake on April 21, 1838.
The mural depicts images of Yosemite Valley once captured by legendary photographer Ansel Adams.
The project was created over a span of a few weeks with help from 160 of Muir’s art students, whose work was overseen by Los Angeles artist Randall Williams.
It measures 5,400 square feet, making it the largest mural at any school in Burbank Unified.
The mural, which encompasses not only the wall but also the floor and ceiling, is located in an area where students eat lunch, and it used to be covered with cement. .
“Randall is the one who envisioned what it is now,” said Muir Principal Greg Miller. “I had a hope for it and it exceeded anything I could have ever imagined.”
Years ago, Williams was a young artist working at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art when he met Ansel Adams in a black-and-white photography gallery.
Back then, Williams hadn’t studied photography and wasn’t aware of Adams’ contribution to that field, but they shared a two-hour conversation that Williams continues to treasure.
“When I really got a grasp of what he had done and how monumental it was — it was the beginning of photography period,” Williams said, adding that he was thrilled to include Adams in the mural. He is shown standing on top of his car with his tripod.
Williams said he always knew his encounter with Ansel Adams was going to be significant in the future.
“Now I can give him a landmark,” he said.
Also in the mural, Muir is shown looking into the forest. The founder of the Sierra Club is regarded as an inspiration for Adams, whose photographs of Yosemite have often been featured alongside Muir’s writings.
The $5,000 mural was paid for by Logix Federal Credit Union and Burbank Arts For All.
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