Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2023
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, and 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:

  1. Discuss the practical, theoretical and historical aspects of large-scale collaborative mural painting community projects
  2. Conduct community discussions to explore visions and themes for mural imagery
  3. Generate ideas, plan preliminary drawings and mural sketches, design compositions, research cultural symbolism, scale images, and paint large-scale collaborative paintings in the community
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of mixing paint for large scale painting
  5. Analyze historical, cultural, and contemporary murals that discuss social change topics with humanity, empowerment, and recognition for under-served communities
  6. Recognize the various mural movements and significant mural artists from various cultures and communities

Course Content

  1. Introduction to mural projects
    1. Practical steps in mural creations
      1. Finding the mural locations for both indoor or outdoor murals
      2. Time frames and schedules
      3. Approval process
      4. Collaboration, discussions, and involving the community
      5. Funding and patronage
      6. Process involves the community, political figures, and business owners
    2. Significance of murals
      1. Benefits for humanity
      2. Communication for under-served communities or populations
      3. Aesthetic impact on communities and urban neighborhoods
      4. Narrative visual depiction of an event
      5. Social change
    3. Historical mural locations
      1. Caves
      2. Churches
      3. Pompeii
      4. Tombs
      5. Interior spaces, ceilings, floors
    4. Contemporary murals
      1. Mural art vs. graffiti
      2. Billboards
      3. Exterior walls on urban buildings, community centers, schools
      4. Sidewalks
      5. Vehicles
    5. Community projects and collaborations
  2. Conduct community discussions to explore visions and themes for mural imagery
  3. Mural making process
    1. Generate ideas
    2. Plans and drawings to scale
    3. Research cultural symbolism, design motifs, and styles
      1. Determination, empowerment, peace, cultural roots, abundance, harvest, hope, future, prosperity
      2. Food and culture
      3. Trompe-l'oeil, surrealism, human scale, abstract, realism, graffiti
    4. Color and design
      1. Color contrast and cool and warm colors
      2. Focal point
      3. Visual balance
      4. Overlapping depth and perspective devices
    5. Mural painting sketch and proposals
      1. Grid drawing to scale
      2. Pencil line drawing
      3. Revisions
      4. Color version: acrylic paint, gouache, or colored pencils
      5. Digital proposals and approval process
    6. Scaling techniques
      1. Grids
      2. Projections
      3. Measurements
      4. Digital prints
    7. Paint preparation
      1. Priming walls and wall constructions
      2. Traditional and contemporary approaches
    8. Painting application on large scale walls
      1. Flat paint application
      2. Scumbling techniques
      3. Color gradations
      4. Spray paint
    9. Involving community and collaboration
      1. Community discussions and brainstorming sessions
      2. Critiques on mural proposals
      3. Field trips and/or mural tours visiting community organizations and mural sites
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of mixing paint for large scale painting
  5. Mural subject matter and social change
    1. History murals
      1. Cave paintings
      2. 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
      1. 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
  6. Mural cultural and global movement
    1. Prehistoric cave paintings from Lauscaux, France
    2. Murals from Egypt, Greece, Rome, India, Mesopotamia, China, 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
  7. Significant mural artists
    1. Diego Rivera, Jose Orozco, David Siqueiros, Jose Clemente Orozco, Piero Della Francesca, Michelangelo

Lab Content

  1. 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. Field trips 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 or digital mock-ups
    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

1. Scaffolding, ladders, tools for building panels, large format digital printer, digital projector, paint cart, computer with Photoshop and Illustrator software.
2. When taught via Foothill Global Access, ongoing access to a computer or smartphone with email address, internet access, and teleconferencing software/apps (e.g., Zoom).

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

Research projects that relate to mural making
Oral presentation
Portfolio of mural sketch ideas
Report on mural tour or field trip to see community murals
Written participation in lectures of historical and contemporary mural movements and mural artists

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

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

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Bricca, Morgan. The Mural Artist's Handbook. 2020.

Harker, MIchael, and Suzanne Baumier. Icons of Street Art: Big Murals. 2019.

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

  1. Take a mural tour in the local community and write a mural report discussing the symbolism, motifs, compositions, perspective, and narrative aspects in the image
  2. Research a historical mural movement and write an essay discussing how this movement expresses social change
  3. 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