Sunset Elementary Mural

Artist duo Wooden Wave (Matt and Roxy Ortiz) are currently starting two murals at Sunset Beach Elementary on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. The mural that is closer to the mountains will take on a mauka theme while the mural closest to the ocean will be makai themed. The mauka-themed wall will depict a sustainable treehouse farm built into a mountainside. Similarly, the makai-themed mural will be of a sustainable ocean clubhouse community.

The native flora and fauna of the mauka mural’s foreground layer are currently being painted by the students from grades 1-3. The makai mural shows a vibrant reef ecosystem complete with corals and fish that was painted by the kindergarten and grade 4-6 students. With each student in the school participating, this means that over 400 students will be involved in this legacy project for the school. This level of school - wide participation is designed to instill in students a sense of pride and ownership for the finished murals.

As part of the curriculum for the project, there was an in-class activity where the students drew images of what their ideal treehouse would look like. Additionally, each class submitted ideas of what kind of treehouse features they would like included in the part of the mural Wooden Wave will paint. The grade levels voted, and the winning features will be incorporated into the mural habitats. This activity is another way that the students are able to contribute to the development of the paintings.

The student portion of the makai mural is complete and Wooden Wave is currently working with classes on the plants for the mauka mural. The artists will then spend the next month painting in the detailed sustainable communities. Not only are these collaborative murals serving as a way to bring art lessons to the school, they are also being used to address themes of environmental stewardship, Hawaiian values, and a sense of place.

Project partners are the Friends of Sunset Beach, The Johnson ‘Ohana Foundation, and OluKai footwear.

Article by: Wooden Wave