Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Units: 4
Hours: 3 lecture, 3 laboratory per week (72 total per quarter)
Advisory: ART 5A; not open to students with credit in ART 18 or 80.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Area I: Humanities
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable


This studio art course introduces and involves students in painting a large-scale collaborative community mural project. Students will generate ideas, plan preliminary mural sketches, design compositions, research cultural symbolism, scale images and paint a large-scale collaborative community painting. In addition, students will learn basic painting techniques and how to mix acrylic paint. This course will discuss how murals can be used to create social change, as well as explore the use of themes such as humanity, empowerment, community, personal and cultural identity. Lectures will analyze historical and contemporary events and movements depicted in murals, as well as significant mural artists.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. Discuss the practical, theoretical and historical aspects of large-scale collaborative mural painting community projects.
B. Conduct community discussions to explore visions and themes for mural imagery.
C. Generate ideas, plan preliminary drawings and mural sketches, design compositions, research cultural symbolism, scale images and paint large-scale collaborative paintings in the community.
D. Demonstrate an understanding of mixing paint for large scale painting.
E. Analyze historical, cultural and contemporary murals that discuss social change, topics with humanity, empowerment and recognition for under-served communities.
F. Recognize the various mural movements and significant mural artists from various cultures and communities.

Course Content

A. Introduction to mural projects
1. Practical steps in mural creations
a. Finding the mural locations for both indoor or outdoor murals
b. Time frames and schedules
c. Approval process
d. Collaboration, discussions and involving the community
e. Funding and patronage
f. Process involves the community, political figure and business owners
2. Significance of murals
a. Benefits for humanity
b. Communication for under-served communities or populations
c. Aesthetic impact on communities and urban neighborhoods
d. Narrative visual depiction of an event
e. Social change
3. Historical mural locations
a. Caves
b. Churches
c. Pompeii
d. Tombs
e. Interior spaces, ceilings, floors
4. Contemporary murals
a. Mural art vs. graffiti
b. Billboards
c. Exterior walls on urban buildings, community centers, schools
d. Sidewalks
e. Vehicles
5. Community projects and collaborations
B. Conduct community discussions to explore visions and themes for mural imagery
C. Mural making process
1. Generate ideas
2. Plans and drawings to scale
3. Research cultural symbolism, design motifs and styles
a. Determination, empowerment, peace, cultural roots, abundance, harvest, hope, future, prosperity
b. Food and culture
c. Trompe-l'oeil, surrealism, human scale, abstract, realism, graffiti
4. Color and design
a. Color contrast and cool and warm Colors
b. Focal point
c. Visual balance
d. Overlapping depth and perspective devices
5. Mural painting sketch and proposals
a. Grid drawing to scale
b. Pencil line drawing
c. Revisions
d. Color version: acrylic paint, gouache or colored pencils
e. Digital proposals and approval process
6. Scaling techniques
a. Grids
b. Projections
c. Measurements
d. Digital prints
7. Paint preparation
a. Priming walls and wall constructions
b. Traditional and contemporary approaches
8. Painting application on large scale walls
a. Flat paint application
b. Scumbling techniques
c. Color gradations
d. Spray paint
8. Involving community and collaboration
a. Community discussions and brainstorming sessions
b. Critiques on mural proposals
c. Field trips and/or mural tours visiting community organizations and mural sites
D. Demonstrate an understanding of mixing paint for large scale painting
E. Mural subject matter and social change
1. History murals
a. Cave paintings
b. American murals (slavery, immigration, under-represented populations of people)
2. Cultural murals: American, British, Hindu, Maya, Latino, European, Asian Pacific Islander, African American
3. Contemporary political events
4. Immigration, migrations, citizenship
5. Humanity, pride and hope
a. Human rights
6. Housing communities
7. Recognition for under-served communities
8. The environment
9. Recovery, wellness and health
10. Veterans
11. Homelessness
12. Women
13. Literacy and education
14. Identity: gender, race, LBGTQ, age
15. Disabled
16. The evolution of technology
F. Mural cultural and global movement
1. Prehistoric cave paintings from Lauscaux, France
2. Murals from Egypt, Greece, Rome, India, Mesopotamia, Chine, Japan, Maya, Tibet
3. Mexican mural movement in the 1930s
4. British murals
5. WPA murals, Depression murals in America
6. African American murals
7. Urban murals, street art and graffiti
8. Bay Area murals and the San Francisco Mural District
G. Significant mural artists
1. Diego Rivera, Jose Orozco, David Siqueiros, Jose Clemente Orozco, Piero Della Francesca, Michelangelo

Lab Content

A. Mural making process
1. Generate ideas
2. Plan drawings to scale and measuring the mural wall
3. Research cultural symbolism and design motifs
4. Participation in community discussions
5. Fieldtrips to see murals in the community
6. Color, design and perspective projects related to murals
7. Creating a mural proposal sketch
8. Participating in large-scale drawings
9. Paint preparation, mixing acrylic paint and painting application techniques
10. Working with the community and collaboration in the mural painting project

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

Scaffolding, ladders, tools for building panels, large format digital printer, digital projector, paint cart, computer with Photoshop and Illustrator software.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Evaluation methods may include, but are not limited to:
A. Research projects that relate to mural making
B. Oral presentation
C. Portfolio of mural sketch ideas
D. Report on mural tour or field trip to see community murals
E. Written participation in lectures of historical and contemporary mural movements and mural artists

Method(s) of Instruction

A. Lecture presentation using the language of mural making.
B. Discussion using the language of symbolism and metaphors.
C. Demonstration of using acrylic house paint, brushes, community walls, techniques and methods.
D. Critique and group presentation of oil painting projects followed by in-class discussion and evaluation.

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Seligman, Patricia. Painting Murals: Images, Ideas, and Techniques. 1st ed. North Light Books, 1988.

Rochfort, Desmond. Mexican Muralists; Orozco, Rivera, Siqueiros. Chronicle Books, 1998.

Schacter, Rafeal. The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti. Yale University Press, 2013.

Although one or more texts is/are older than the suggested "5 years or newer" standard, it/they remain seminal in this area of study.


Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. Take a mural tour in the local community mural and write a mural report discussing the symbolism, motifs, compositions, perspective and narrative aspects in the image.

B. Research a historical mural movement and write an essay discussing how this movement expresses social change.

C. Write a mural proposal for a place in an community or place. Add drawings, color preliminary sketches, symbolism and scale measurements in the proposal. Discuss how you will include the community in the proposal.