Rio Norte students unveil mural at Westfield Valencia Town Center

Art teacher Daryl Bibicoff, right, sits with his students in front of their mural at the Westfield Valencia Town Center. Ryan Mancini/The Signal

Rio Norte Junior High School students watched as their contribution to the Westfield Valencia Town Center, a 6-foot-by-20-foot mural displayed on the community wall, was unveiled to the public on Friday.

Located near the main building’s entrance by The Shops at The Patios portion of the Town Center, each piece of artwork reflected different races and cultures, embodied in five portraits, including a masked person in the middle. For all of March and April, the students worked as a team to map out their ideas for the mural, under the guidance and direction of art teacher Daryl Bibicoff.

Haroon Reza, a seventh-grader in the class, said the task of contributing to the mural was scary. He and his peers decided to chose the theme of “unique,” and have the mural reflect that concept.

“All of us are different races, but then we just combined all these weird, different ideas and put them into one person,” Reza said. “All these different cultures — we wanted to see (what it looked like) mixing them. If you look in the background there, you see different things. You can see Russian dolls, flowers, you see all these different things and we poured it into one person (in the middle).”

Haroon Reza explains his thought process in creating his segment of the mural on the Community Wall inside the Westfield Valencia Town Center. Ryan Mancini/The Signal

Bibicoff instructed his students to create a mural that needed to flow and be appropriate for public display. The mural, however, was not named by the students or Bibicoff.

“There is no actual title,” Bibicoff said. “The reason for that is because the premise of the mural was team-building skills, artists having trust among their peers and creating a cohesive piece.”

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About the author

Ryan Mancini

Ryan Mancini

Ryan Mancini covers local news for The Signal. He joined in 2018 and previously worked as a reporter and editor for The Sundial, Scene Magazine and El Nuevo Sol while enrolled as a student at California State University, Northridge, where he studied journalism and political science. He's lived in Santa Clarita since 2002.