Lane Technical High School
The Teaching of the Arts, 1938
Albert G. Lane Technical High School auditorium lobby
Four vertical panels mounted between the exterior doors of the Lane Tech auditorium describe the teaching of the humanities. They were painted when the school was all male. In each, Mitchell Siporin portrays the figure of a mentor or teacher standing behind that of a young student. For literature, a wise-looking older man with his arm outstretched gently leads a young man with book in hand. Art is suggested by a student holding a palette and painting a still life at his easel. His teacher stands behind him with his arm on the young man's shoulder. A young man performing on his violin accompanied by a shadowy figure at the piano personifies music. In the fourth panel, a boy in Elizabethan costume is embraced by a figure in classical robes representing drama. In acknowledging the influence of the Mexican muralists José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, and David Alfaro Siqueiros on his work, Siporin said, "Through the lessons of our Mexican teachers, we have been made more aware of the scope and fullness of this the soul of our own environment." It was they, he said, who suggested "the application of modernism toward a socially moving epic of our time and place."
Lane Technical High School, three of four panels: (a) Music; (b) Drama; (c) Art. Photographs © by Don DuBroff, courtesy of Lane Tech, mural commissioned by the Works Progress Administration, Federal Art Project.
An image from A Guide to Chicago's Murals by Mary Lackritz Gray