AP art students feature Marin’s landscape in a Corte Madera Library mural

Ella Kharrazi

As the sun beat down outside during the hot summer months, a few Advanced Placement (AP) art students spent their days indoors doing what they love: creating art. Upon hearing about the opportunity to paint a mural on the wall of the children’s section of the Corte Madera Library, seniors and AP art students Isabella Lombardo, Sophie Blauvelt and Kacey Douglas, as well as one non-AP art student, Natalie Oh, dove into the idea of developing a scene to highlight the unique natural environment of the Bay Area. From the towering redwood trees to the delicate monarch butterflies, the mural recreates the beauty of Marin County. Sarah Butts, the Youth Services Librarian at the Corte Madera Library, proposed the idea of the mural, hoping it would bring the community together and create a warm atmosphere in the children’s room. “It was this big empty wall and I thought it would be nice to have something that was really [central] to Corte Madera to make the people who live here feel at home,” Butts said.

Painting a mural on the wall of the children’s section of the Corte Madera Library after its renovation, AP art students brought a piece of Marin to the library through their art.

Lombardo believes that the mural was a perfect way to honor Marin’s natural surroundings. According to Lombardo, they tried to capture the picturesque scenery that we have in Marin, specifically with local nature and landmarks.

With no firm guidelines in regards to the composition of the mural, the artists took ideas from their surroundings. Blauvelt found inspiration in the scenery of Mount Tamalpais while walking home from school. Snapping a picture of the magnificent view, Blauvelt proposed that the artists center the mural on the mountain; a landmark of our community. 

The creative process was extremely enjoyable for the artists, especially for Oh. She is not an art student at the moment, but was interested by the proposal of the project. Although she is no longer taking guided art classes, she has in the past and finds pleasure in making things more beautiful by adding artistic touches. 

“Painting the mural, in general, was really fun because I don’t really do art anymore at school or outside of school. So for me, this was a really great way to get back into that environment again, because I just love painting,” Oh said. 

Oh believes the library is a welcoming environment for children, recalling her wholesome memories of it as a child. She hopes the mural will make the library a more inviting environment than it already is.

Lombardo also reminisced about her childhood visits to the library, finding the project to be a full circle experience. 

“I think we’ve all spent a lot of time in our past in that children’s section of the library, especially during the summers,” Lombardo said. “I remember going there and reading on hot days, and it was really nice to go back and contribute to beautifying the space.”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, and due to the interior remodel of the space, the library has not opened its indoor area to the public. However, there are hopeful plans to re-open in mid to late September. Butts is excited to see children reading and picking out new books again.

“People are attached to the children’s room, and I wanted to make it special for those who have not seen it in a year,” Butts said.