Our voices matter.
This project began as a simple beautification project meant to brighten the entry hall at the local Boys and Girls Club, and evolved into a highly collaborative and creative educational opportunity that engaged both kids and staff in participation. It naturally fostered both a sense of personal pride in individuals as well as a sense of mentorship and awareness of others through a process that involved older kids learning about public art, audience, street art and stencil making, and then asked them to consider how younger and new club members might be served by the images, symbols and written messages embedded in the finished work. After cutting their own stencils (along with several staff members) they then helped with the hands on painting of the mural, using stencils and writing to layer and develop the final imagery. The result is a bright, cheerful and inspiring artwork that incoming kids, parents and staff can enjoy, and the makers can identify their own individual contributions in perpetuity within the whole, as long as the mural remains. It was an opportunity to teach kids about making public art and thinking about its purpose and audience, while bringing them in an essential and tangible part of that art. It’s something that they can be proud of, that is bigger than any one individual, but which would not be the same without each contribution.