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Design a Mural

In this activity, explore Los Angeles through art and history!

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Design a Mural Inspired by Barbara Carrasco!

Barbara Carrasco’s mural tells the history of Los Angeles through a series of images woven through the hair of la Reina de Los Ángeles (the queen of Los Angeles). Students explore what makes Los Angeles special to them by creating their own mural with this activity, designed by Teacher Advisory Council member, Dominic Black.

MATERIALS

  • Printed worksheet - available as Google Doc or PDF
  • Drawing/writing utensils (can include markers, colored pencils, pastels, watercolors, etc.)

Background

Chicana artist Barbara Carrasco’s landmark 1981 mural, L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective, portrays the city’s history through a series of vignettes woven into the flowing hair of la Reina de Los Ángeles (the queen of Los Angeles). The mural celebrates her Latina heritage and growing up in Los Angeles.

A painting of a woman with scenes of L.A. woven in her hair
Detail of L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective, 1981. Artist: Barbara Carrasco

View the L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective virtual gallery

In 2018, NHM became the first museum to show the full length of the mural in a special exhibition. Carrasco’s mural will soon greet visitors in the Judith Perlstein Welcome Center in the new NHM Commons.

Instructions

  1. Introduce students to the mural (virtually or on a Museum visit), and discuss it's controversial history. You may choose to have students read one of the following articles: A Mural Remembers L.A., or UNCENSOREDBarbara Carrasco’s Mural Returns to Union Station
  2. Students think about their own history and the people and events that have shaped it.
  3. Students use the blank mural template to create their own personal mural -- some examples created by students from San Dimas High School are included below!

Tag us on Instagram to share your student's work with the School Programs Team!  #LearnWithNHMLAC

Image of coloring sheet. The head of a woman in profile, hand under chin, holding a feather. Her hair flows across the coloring sheet and creates frames for four additional hand drawn images: a person under a red umbrella at the beach, a yellow house labelled "my grandparents house," the los angeles skyline against a yellow and pink sunset, and a blue and gray castle with yellow banners.

Courtesy Kimberlie Taylor

Sophia Cabalfin San Dimas HS

Sophia C.

Image of coloring sheet. The head of a woman in profile, hand under chin, holding a feather. Her hair flows across the coloring sheet and creates frames for four additional hand drawn images: plane taking off from a runway with sculptures of the letters L.A.X. in the background; a red house with a black roof; two peaches on a twig with a few green leaves; and the ocean against the sand with a red starfish and pink seashell in the middle of the sand.

Courtesy Katrina Bosler

drawing of a woman with flowing hair, in between sections of hair are vignettes: the Hollywood sign, a playground, LAX, a stadium

Courtesy Rahul Mohan

1 of 1

Courtesy Kimberlie Taylor

Sophia C.

Courtesy Katrina Bosler

Courtesy Rahul Mohan