By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
Main Sequence Stars recently collaborated with students at Palisades Charter High School to create two murals on campus—blending the worlds of art and science.
The Los Angeles-based organization was founded by doctoral scientist and professor Kimia Sobhani, who said the concept is to create science-based art projects with students, merging two of her personal passions.
“I am a doctoral scientist and have always been interested in art and painted and drawn most of my life as a hobby,” Sobhani said to the Palisadian-Post. “I thought at this point in my life, ‘How can I fuse these passions and give back to the next generation?’ And that’s how the whole thing was born.”
She said the concept of Main Sequence Stars was first discussed in April with Pali High parent of two Sheri Benshian, a longtime friend who shares the same passion for arts and science. The two brought the project to fruition in July—and the Pali High murals mark the organization’s first official project.
“We chose Pali High because … it’s a charter school,” Sobhani said. “We wanted to be able to work with a diverse student population, and from what we understand, Pali has a pretty diverse population because they bus in a lot of kids. They’re not just serving the local area. It just seemed like a good initial target for us.”
After reaching out to administration and getting the word out, the organization met with interested students on July 9 and 10 to create art on campus.
The first mural, Sobhani explained, is the electromagnetic spectrum, simplified, grazing the face of a woman’s silhouette. She drafted the mural in Adobe Illustrator and said the team worked with students to convey both the visible range of spectrum, but also the wavelengths of the spectrum that cannot be seen, including infrared, X-rays and gamma-rays.
“It’s more of an implication of a scientific concept with the idea that interested people might look up stuff on their own,” she said. “We designed the first mural because we thought it would get messy if we didn’t have a design coming in, but we also wanted to incorporate student input, and the kids who were there really wanted to do a good job and some of them were art focused. [The mural] exceeded my personal expectations.”
The concept of the second mural was designed solely by the involved Pali High students. Sobhani said the students decided on science-based clip art.
“Everyone chose an icon that’s science related that they wanted to paint, and then we generally conferred on where various items should go and they completed that one on their own on the second day,” Sobhani said. “We decided to make it black and white to keep it simple, keep it clean, keep it graphic. The students totally freehanded that one.”
Sobhani said the students of Pali High were a pleasure to work with and the experience prepared her well for projects moving forward.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been around younger people for prolonged periods of time and it was refreshing to see that they were really eager to do a good job,” she said.
Principal Dr. Pamela Magee said Pali High is proud to be the first school selected to create inspirational murals with Main Sequence Stars.
“Kimia Sobhani and Sheri Benshian provided a creative summer opportunity for volunteer student collaborators to connect with and beautify their school campus after a challenging year of quarantine,” Magee shared with the Post. “The mural project promotes awareness of STEAM concepts through the PALI values of positivity, aspiration, learning and integrity. Our school community will enjoy the results of this collaboration now and for years to come.”
For more information about the organization, visit mainsequencestars.org.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.