St. Louis Artist Creates Mural At Parkview That Depicts The School's Diverse Student Body
Cbabi Bayoc, who makes a living as an artist, has been painting murals in schools for three years.
A white wall at Parkview High in Springfield has been transformed into splashes of color and depictions of life and people at the school.
Cbabi Bayoc, an artist from St. Louis, has spent the last week at Parkview creating a mural he designed with input from students.
Art teacher, Ashley Bolling, got funding through the Thomas H. and Josephine Baird Memorial Fund at Community Foundation of the Ozarks to bring Bayoc to Springfield as an artist-in-residence for a week.
Last school year, she invited students to participate in a Zoom meeting with Bayoc and to share what they wanted to see in the mural.
"They talked about how they wanted to be sure that, you know, people of all identities and abilities and just all different types of backgrounds could be represented," Bolling said.
Essense Moore was one of the Parkview students who shared ideas. She said she wanted Bayoc to know that her school is very diverse but, at the same time, very inclusive.
"Everybody fits in here because we're just one family," she said, "and you don't feel singled out with anybody. We're all very supportive of each other, and I feel like he (Bayoc) did a really, really good job of showcasing like all the different types of cultures, how different people look and everything within this mural here, so he definitely took all of our ideas, and he ran with it 110 percent and did even better than we could have imagined honestly."
Moore had the chance to add paint to the mural. So did other students, some who stood on ladders to add brush strokes to the wall.
This is the second high school mural for Bayoc who painted one last year at Lebanon High School.
He’s been making a living as an artist for 25 years after a graduated from college, but creating murals is relatively new. He focused mostly on portraits until about three years ago when a friend asked him to paint a mural at her kids’ school in Webster, Missouri. Once word got out that he’d done that, he started getting requests from other schools.
Bayoc said the overall focus of the mural at Parkview is school spirit.
"Yeah, I usually just try to find a phrase or a theme based on the list they gave me and go from there," he said.
At the center is the number, 1956, the year Parkview first opened. Parkview has an ASL Club and many students choose to learn it, so there are hands forming the phrase, “Be Kind.”
The mural depicts students from a variety of backgrounds, including different ethnicities and those with disabilities.
A dancer depicted in the mural is wearing an earpiece to represent hearing impaired students. And a girl in the upper left corner is reading a book in Braille.
"I'm trying to cover everything," he said. "I mean, there are a few that didn't get in there. There's a young lady there named—called Moth or a person named Moth, I don't know, I want to be respectful, but they're in a wheelchair. The wheelchair is not present but, you know, their avatar is over there, and I'll put a little moth on top of the picture so they know it's them."
The mural faces a wall of windows, making the colors even more vibrant. Bayoc balances the many colors with patterns and layers.
When Bayoc is finished, he’ll leave behind a lasting legacy at Parkview and a source of pride for its students.
Moore, who works on the school’s yearbook, envisions the mural wall to be a focal point for many photos for years to come.
She said the theme of the yearbook is Stand Up, Stand Out, and the school will stand out with a mural that showcases who Parkview is.