IB art leaves a legacy


An IB art piece located on the second floor draws many eyes to it.

When you walk down the hallways at school you see beautiful unique murals filled with color instead of boring, gray walls. Most of the murals are done by the students in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Visual Arts II class. This year, however, the class faced a special challenge because of the name change.

Some of the murals on the walls had the name Washington-Lee on them, which was retired last year after the Arlington County School Board voted to rename the school. Students and teachers now have the challenge of preserving the legacy of previous students while ensuring the murals reflect the new name change. One such challenge was tackled by art teacher Mr. Derek Sober, who altered one of the murals to say Washington-Liberty.

“Some pieces around the school had to be altered a little bit just because of the name change… we don’t want to take down those art works, those are legacies of students from before [us], so we want to preserve that artwork and the message they wanted to leave,” senior Jamileth Picavia said.

Along with the new name change came a new logo. Students were involved in the entire process from sophomore Tess Cogley designing the logo to several current juniors and seniors helping art teacher Ms. Hiromi Isobe paint the new logo.

“Our art teacher gives us a lot of freedom to do what we want to do,” Picavia said. “It’s more about your creative freedom, your ideas, and what you want to say.”

Five students — senior Vi Lim, junior Julianna Sentry, Picavia, junior Miranda Kibler and junior Rihanna Kibler — worked on painting the new logo in the school over the summer so that it would be ready to welcome new students to the school and returning students to the new name. 

“We wanted to welcome students to the new name,” Ms. Isobe said. “[We wanted] to carry the tradition with painting over the old one to welcome the students day one… [and] we were especially proud because students created it.”

Even though it was hard for them to paint over the old logo that previous students had worked hard on, they felt that painting over the it with the new logo helped symbolize the change from the old name to the new name. 

“It was a little bittersweet because we painted over the older one that we made with the students,” Ms. Isobe said. “[But] as the art department, we were really proud because we started the new legacy and the new mural.” 

Students said that painting the new logo felt symbolic of our transition from the old name to the new name, showing that we are open to the new change.

“The new name change [mural] symbolizes… a new era of Washington-Liberty,” Lim said.

Students agreed that art is an important part of the school’s history and culture. While the name change has forced some alterations, students and teachers were able to preserve the legacy of previous students while reflecting the new name.

“[Art] brings the school more to life,” Picavia said. “Everyone has a different style… it shows that we are really diverse.”