This is part of the ANKN Logo This is part of the ANKN Banner
This is part of the ANKN Logo This is part of the ANKN Banner Home Page About ANKN Publications Academic Programs Curriculum Resources Calendar of Events Announcements Site Index This is part of the ANKN Banner
This is part of the ANKN Logo This is part of the ANKN Banner This is part of the ANKN Banner
This is part of the ANKN Logo This is part of the ANKN Banner This is part of the ANKN Banner
Native Pathways to Education
Alaska Native Cultural Resources
Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Indigenous Education Worldwide

Curriculum Resources for the Alaskan Environment

Subject Areas: painting, design drafting, math, cultural awareness, history, geography, sociology, language skills

Timeline: nine weeks to nine months, depending on size of mural

Grade Levels: K-12

Purpose: for students to create an environmental change that is pleasing and a source of pride to the community; to provide a drawing and painting experience which allows the students and community to make choices


K. Schwartz
Community Mural



Square bullet Activities

The students and community work together to plan, design, and paint a mural for the community's enjoyment. A record will be kept of all designs and stories collected from the people to provide ideas on theme of the mural.

  • Select a suitable wall for the mural. Select the best of all alternatives. Consider size, location, lighting, and who will see the mural. Secure permission to paint mural from appropriate authorities.
  • Select a theme for the mural that is agreeable to the majority of people in the community.
  • Design the mural on paper. Sketches can be made by all interested people and a committee selected to put the sketches in a sequence.
  • Select appropriate materials for painting, printing, or air brushing the mural.
  • Consider materials as they relate to the design, space, and existing architectural structure, order materials if necessary.
  • Draft the design from paper on the wall for the mural. This can be done easily with the block method: draw one-inch blocks on paper, draw one-yard blocks on wall, transfer and enlarge drawing from paper to wall (follow the blocks).
  • Paint the mural. Consider:

    scheduling time for students, small children, and adults

    safety features

    clean up

    time limits for working.

  • Have a grand opening to celebrate the finished mural. Consider:



    thanks for special efforts.


  • The variations are as numerous as the possible themes. For example, a historical mural would involve students and community in their cultural awareness, while a picture mural of one specific idea (e.g., the Northern Lights) might involve them in scientific discoveries. 
  • Although a time schedule is recommended, it might be possible to work during Thanksgiving, Christmas, or summer vacation on a continuous around-the-clock plan. The students and community workers paint constantly in shifts until the mural is completed:

    this was done very successfully in Selawik in 1975, in an upstairs room of the high school.


Artist in Residence Program

Community Mural Project

Elder Posters and Interviews

Literature from Life History and Village Lore

Bilingual Exercise

Illustrated History of Eskimo Games

Freeze-Up Essays

Literacy Bank

Elementary Reader

Grant and Proposal Writing

Student A/V Presentation

"Focus on Your Village," a short videotaped news program

Developmental Photography

Film and Video Scripting


Producing a Play

Ceramics-Chess Class

Block Print Sales

Weavers Guild



Go to University of AlaskaThe University of Alaska Fairbanks is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educational institution and is a part of the University of Alaska system.


Alaska Native Knowledge Network
University of Alaska Fairbanks
PO Box 756730
Fairbanks  AK 99775-6730
Phone (907) 474.1902
Fax (907) 474.1957
Questions or comments?
Last modified August 17, 2006