The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Tokyo-originating fine arts major chosen to paint mural in Student Activities Center

Haruka Kanemura ,19, studio art major, and her team painting a mural in the East Lounge of the Student Activities Center. Photo credit: Ryan Guitare

Haruka Kanemura stands in pensive silence watching her two assistants paint, right hand cupping her chin, a drawing held outstretched in her left. Her eyes are intense, and flick between the penciled sketch and the half-completed mural beyond it.

The mural depicts a symphony of hands, intertwined and bathed in colorful auras, grasping the El Camino bell at center. Today’s focus is the rightmost pair of hands, which symbolizes students rising together in excellence. With the support of her team, Kanemura is doing just that.

The 19-year-old studio arts major began painting in the East Lounge of the Student Activities Center in December after her design was chosen by the Student Development Office (SDO) for the project. Her application included a budget proposal and a write-up that detailed how her art reflected the core values of the college.

“The middle three hands represent a diversity, but at the same time, a unity,” Kanemura said. “With compassion and support, students strive for excellence.”

Kanemura grew up in Tokyo, but she moved to Torrance at the age of 10. She had always drawn as a hobby, but found a passion in art after taking classes at El Camino. When she learned that the SDO was looking for a muralist, she lept at the opportunity.

“In September, I saw a flyer on the arts building saying ‘call for artists,’” Kanemura said. “I decided to take this opportunity, because, well, it’s a really rare opportunity to paint a mural!”

The project is the brainchild of Rudi Lopez, Administrative Assistant at the SDO, who said that Haruka’s design was exactly what they were looking for.

“Haruka was right on point from delivering a professional proposal, a budget that was very presentable, and a very good articulating of her vision,” Lopez said. “We want to make it so they’re project leader, recruiting other students to help them. This is a way to showcase the real talent that we have on campus, and they’re manifesting the great teaching that they’re getting from their instructors in the classroom.”

Andrea Micallef, who taught Kanemura’s 2D design class, said that it’s important for art students to get real world experience in projects like this.

“I come from industry, not academia,” Micallef said. “I think that students think that getting that degree is 100 percent of the major, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle of success.”

Kanemura said she’s grateful for the experience she’s gained from this project.

“Like Rudi said, with this one I have to be in charge; I’m like the director of this whole mural,” Kanemura said. “I need more of these experiences, like how do I handle this, how do I solve conflicts. If I didn’t get this mural opportunity then I feel like I wouldn’t have challenged myself.”

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