ASB art commissioners beautify bathroom stalls

With+students+returning+to+the+Bonita+Vista+High+%28BVH%29+campus%2C+Associated+Student+Body+%28ASB%29+art+commissioners+took+it+upon+themselves+to+paint+murals+on+the+girls%27+bathroom+stalls+in+the+300s+building.+ASB+art+commissioners+hope+to+inspire+body+positivity+and+create+a+welcoming+presence+in+the+bathrooms.

Carina Muniz

With students returning to the Bonita Vista High (BVH) campus, Associated Student Body (ASB) art commissioners took it upon themselves to paint murals on the girls’ bathroom stalls in the 300s building. ASB art commissioners hope to inspire body positivity and create a welcoming presence in the bathrooms.

Colorful bathroom stalls with uplifting messages painted on them are greeting students back on campus. Painted in the 300s building, the Associated Student Body’s (ASB) Art Commissioners wanted to brighten up the normally unforgiving sights the bathrooms give with encouraging messages such as “Kindness changes everything.”

ASB Head Art Commissioner and senior Olivia Huey first proposed the idea of painting the girls’ bathroom stalls to her advisor and Assistant Principal of Student Activities Christopher Alvarez, last school year before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, due to the lockdown, Huey’s idea did not become a reality until August 2020, when she found herself and the rest of the art commissioners painting bathroom stall doors in her own backyard. Huey had the bathroom stall doors delivered to her house by the BVH custodian.

The pandemic changed a lot of the things that [the ASB] would normally be able to do. The mural project was just a fun activity for us to experiment with and luckily we were able to do it. I think it was a way to leave our mark on this year,” ASB Art Commissioner and senior Ashley Ratcliff said.

Huey mentioned that she suggested that art commissioners do this task simply because she wanted to surprise students with something that enhanced the look of the bathroom as they returned to campus. 

“On Pinterest[a social media platform that allows people to share pictures and videos in the form of a pinboard] I saw this idea of painting bathroom stall doors and I thought it would be really cool [to do] at our school. So I introduced [the idea] to our ASB advisor. From there, I worked with the art commissioners and we [painted] the 300s bathroom [stalls],” Huey said.

ASB Art Commissioner and junior Jena Heinz expressed similar opinions to Huey. Heinz explained that she wanted BVH students to come back to a new and beautified bathroom look. 

“[Art commissioners] didn’t want [students] to just be going back to the same old, bland campus. I hope to show them [that] ‘Hey, [ASB] cares about you! We want to make this school a better place for you to learn,’” Heinz said.

Huey also mentioned that she thinks these works of art could be appreciated by the many students who tend to socialize with friends they bump into in the restroom. 

“I hope [the murals] are another reason for [students] to appreciate our school. We’ve been separated from people for so long that I figured [the murals could be] a talking point for students when they go to the bathroom, so I thought it would be cool,” Huey said.

Due to the positive impact BVH art commissioners are hoping for, it is their goal to be able to create more art, not only in other bathrooms, but around the school as well. Huey briefly spoke about a specific project that she hopes will happen in the future, however, there is a small concern about being able to create more murals due to art commissioners schedules. With things slowly returning to normal after the pandemic, Huey takes into consideration how busy art commissioners will become.

“I definitely hope that [the murals] bring a much more supportive nature to everyone—not even just girls—[but] as to how [all students] perceive each other. As I mentioned, it leads to self confidence [and] body image. Everyones insecure about something. With these [mural] quotes, it reminds people not to be so judgemental, not just with themselves, but with everyone.” Ratcliff said.

Despite the possibility of a busier schedule, Heinz hopes that the creation of murals will never come to a halt. Ideally, the production of these murals will continue for years to come. 

“I think [the murals] are really good to have in the school. I’m hoping [painting murals] can be a little activity for ASB or art commissioners to do in the next few years and just having more and more so the school just looks nicer and nicer,” Heinz said. “I think we’ll end up doing a couple more.”

Ratcliff expressed her heartfelt view on the bathroom murals and the effect she thinks it will have on the students who see them. 

“Seeing things like [the murals] is really uplifting, especially for girls, who in high school, self-confidence and body image are really sensitive issues to us. Just having more encouragement and an uplifting nature around us is very helpful,” Ratcliff said.