sponsored bY: Vans and Americans for the Arts

In May of 2019, I had the amazing opportunity to create a mural at Westminster High School as a collaborative effort with more than 100 art students. The company Vans partnered with the nonprofit Americans for the Arts to select 10 schools nationwide for grants in 2019. Westminster High School was the only school in California to receive this grant which enabled me to spend a week on campus working side by side with the students. It was a beautiful experience and incredibly inspiring for everyone involved. It was an honor to work with these young adults and share the uplifting and profound power of Art. Many thanks to the staff and teachers at Westminster High School, especially Art Teacher and Project Director, Daina Anderson and the VOICES students Teacher, Leah Guillen for all their hard work in making this happen.

(Photo: Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer/ Orange County Register)

(Photo: Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer/ Orange County Register)


“The idea is that students usually study artists who are no longer living,” Anderson said. “Contemporary artists can serve as mentors.”

Westminster used its windfall to hire Ventura illustrator Tory Elena, who specializes in album covers – thus, the mural’s emphasis on music. Students chose the theme “inspiration” for Elena to convey in a picture.

“My goal was to create something that would spark students’ curiosity as they walk by,” Elena said. “Curiosity leads to inspiration.”

(Read more of the OC Register article HERE.)