Students’ Murals Promote Reading

Three colorful murals celebrating reading were unveiled Monday at Shirley Avenue Elementary School.

Students created the three-dimensional “Learning Landscape” with the help of artist Elizabeth Criss.

Each of three walls, which feature red mountains and a blue sky, are decorated with 57 wooden books. The books showcase the students’ artwork.


Fourth-grader Alexis Hernandez said she was glad her book will be seen by students for years to come.

“It makes you feel like you’re sort of famous,” Alexis said.

The project was funded by the Los Angeles Unified School District and a grant from the city of Los Angeles Public Works program.

Criss has worked with students at Shirley Avenue Elementary for seven years. For the “Learning Landscape,” she asked the children to select an inspiring book and then paint acrylic pictures on canvas, which were glued to the wooden books.

Criss became interested in helping children decorate their campuses after a visit to her daughter’s school.

“It was depressing to see dark halls and dreary walls,” Criss said. “I realized I could help these children through art. That inspired me.”

Second-grader Walker Reade liked the mural and wanted more.

“I think they’re so good,” Walker said. “If all the walls were colors, I’d feel like a new person.”