Tech Theater Project Informs And Celebrates Black History Month

Tim Domack’s students honed their scenic painting skills while also creating a project that informs their peers about the lives and accomplishments of African Americans pivotal to our nation’s history and culture

Black History Month is upon us. The students in Tim Domack’s second period Technical Theater Proficient Honors class painted  murals depicting four African Americans who have impacted our nation and world greatly. 

Black history Month celebrates the accomplishments and recognizes the struggles of black Americans throughout our nation’s history. Domack saw a way to teach a part of his curriculum, scenic painting, while also providing a learning opportunity about history to his own class and everyone in the school who views the project.

“I believe Black History Month is important to help highlight the contributions of African Americans to our society. This recognition includes those well known as well as gives a voice to the ‘behind the scenes’ folks that made or make meaningful contributions to our everyday lives,” Domack said.

This project hopes to educate students by helping them learn things they might not have known. Each picture features a QR code that, when scanned, provides information about the historical figure. 

“I’ve honestly had this idea on my mind for quite a few years now. We have such an awesomely diverse school, and my advanced class reflects that diversity.  I wanted my students to feel they were contributing to the overall positive atmosphere in our school, as well as allowing them to express their feelings through this project.  I chose red and blue as the prominent colors as these are our school colors.  I wanted our students to feel these figures’ values are our values as a school. They are who we are,” Domack explained.

Each student chose a person to paint, and this decision was very important. 

“I spoke with my students to gauge how they felt about this idea. They were overwhelmingly positive and excited about the project. I wanted them to paint whomever they felt were a significant figure in the African American community. I did encourage choosing important figures that were not quite as well known too. My hope is that with the addition of the QR codes, students can scan and read about these lesser known people,” Domack said.

This project was not easygoing, and it required a lot of physical and mental hard work. It had many steps, and mistakes were easy to be made.

“In total, it took about 3-4 weeks.  It started with the idea and speaking with a few of the painters.  They were excited about it, so I expanded it to all of the painters in class.  I explained what I wanted to see up there.  They took some time to research.  We had to go through discussion of copyright which I also went through WCPSS for clarification.  When they choose their people, they ran the image through a free online program that turns the image into the red white and blue you see up there.  With this image, they used a data projector and projected onto their canvas.  They drew out the lines and started mixing paint.  All of the colors are variations of the same, but the painters made the final choice and mixed all of the paint to their own desire.”

Domack selected the location the paintings by where they will have the most impact on the school.

“I have wanted to put something in that space for years.  I feel like the whole area in the commons is fairly blah.  I like that it is low enough to be eye-catching, but high enough to be seen by quite a few people.  The tricky part was how to hang them up without drilling into the brick.  I had two of my carpenters help come up with a solution,” Domack said. 

Students also gave their input on the paintings and the process.

“I chose Jackie Robinson because he was the first African American to go into major league baseball, and this was a big accomplishment,”  senior Annie West said.

The QR codes on the paintings are there so students can scan them and learn more about these influential people.  

“It was my idea for the QR code, and I think it helped by getting more people to learn about Black History Month,” West said.

Some mistakes were made, like with any project. West would change one aspect of her painting. 

“I would put more on the bottom where there is a lot of white space, but other than that, nothing else,” West said. 

Senior Emma McElveen said, “I wish we had highlighted more people who are well known than just the four because there really are so many.”