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pershingYou can see work from Detroit artist Sydney James throughout the city and in galleries all around the world. Her latest work, however, is nestled inside the hallway of a high school on Detroit’s northeast side.

“The Hall of Accountability” is a 25-foot mural that depicts the faces of 12 current freshmen students at Pershing High School. She chose them randomly and snapped their pictures with an iPhone, and then painted their larger-than-life faces along the hallway. She only had one rule for the students – don’t smile.

“A smile doesn’t necessarily draw you in to wonder, to leave any room for, ‘I wonder what that person’s thinking because they’re smiling?'” James says. “They look kind of curious. They look serious but still goofy, because a lot of these kids are goofy, so I tried to bring a lot of that into it, too.”

Detroit artist beautifies high school with hallway mural

Some of the kids got to see their faces Tuesday morning as they arrived to school. The mural was unveiled just before students began arriving for classes.

James worked on the mural for about a week. She says she’d wait for the kids to leave school before she started painting.

James is a local artist known for her murals around the city. She’s also done work in Atlanta and Los Angeles.

Pershinig High School is an Education Achievement Authority of Michigan (EAA) school.

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