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Beckham High reveals special art mural inside school

This week, Lucy Beckham High School Principal Anna Dassing held a private ceremony with Gil Shuler, a well-known local designer, and McMillan, Pazdan and Smith, the school's architect, to reveal a new three-story mural inside the school.

The project features roughly 25 illustrations representing visuals of the Lowcountry's history and the Mount Pleasant community.

Shuler is known for designing the Town of Mount Pleasant, the College of Charleston, the Charleston RiverDogs and numerous other business’ logos and branding materials. 

The Sumter native moved to Mount Pleasant in 1983 after graduating  from Western Carolina University with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts with a concentration in graphic design.

He originally moved to the Lowcountry because he enjoyed fishing. He worked for a several advertising agencies in the area before opening his own business in 1985.

He said creating the vibrant artwork within the new high school's stairwell was a special project to take on as he celebrates his 35th anniversary running Gil Shuler Graphic Design.

Shuler said it meant a lot that the school came to him as a Mount Pleasant resident that had two kids who went to Wando High School when Lucy Beckham was principal.

“We knew her, so it was real special that they asked me to do it," Shuler said.

He said his children knew her very well and that they all loved her. He leapt at the opportunity to design a visual concept in the new school located at the old Wando site.

He went and looked at the space when the building was still under construction. Shuler remembers looking at the huge wall and deciding that a wall of framed illustrations and pictures would be perfect for the space.

He worked with the school's administrators and architect to determine the right images, wording, colors and every detail.

“We wanted it to reflect the history of Mount Pleasant and that actual site,” he said.

The mural includes images of the South Carolina Port, a shrimp boat on Shem Creek, the spear from Wando's logo, a Palmetto tree, a Sweetgrass basket, the old Long Point school house, a pennant for the new school and dozens of other illustrations.

Shuler used stock pictures to sketch the mural's images and then used computer programs to create and color them.

He also incorporated school spirit within the mural, including the school's mascot, the Beckham Bengal and school's colors which are two shades of blue, orange and a bright green. Shuler created a large stripe of the four colors along where the handrail guides up the stairwell up each flight of stairs. He also used those colors in each of the illustrations.

“As the school progresses and as time goes on they have all this art to use for t-shirts. Like the pennant (illustration); there is a lot of use for all of the art on the wall,” he added.

Shuler who is also known for creating the Palmetto tree logo with the nine doves in remembrance of the Emanuel 9, will release his first book in a few weeks. The book is called Barn Jam Posters Volume 1 and it features 200 of the 650 posters he has designed for the Awendaw Green Barn Jam events since 2010.

Dassing complimented his hard work on the school's mural and how colorful it makes the open entry area of the high school. He was overjoyed to have been selected to create Beckham High's first mural.

“It’s a good hometown project to be associated with. Education is really important in my family so it’s great,” Shuler concluded.

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