Thursday, February 15, 2007

Participatory Murals 1: West Philly HS Mural

By Michael Schwartz

“The popular education movement seeks to address world literacy. We use the word literacy in the broadest of definitions. Popular Arts Education utilizes the language of imagery, words, movement and sound to pass on knowledge. “Pop Arts Ed” takes into consideration the holistic environment. This pluralistic approach to pedagogy seeks to liberate students from oppressive systems of education, assimilation and cultural memory wiping. We listen to oral traditions and mythology to decode a peoples’ story. Through the integration of local aesthetics and stories combined with borrowed techniques and artifacts from other cultures we integrate ideas and concepts into a single work of art. This might be a mural, sculpture, film, theater work or game. Popular Arts Education is an approach and can be adapted and eventually taught by participants.”

- from A Popular Education Workbook for Teaching the Visual Arts by Michael Schwartz

This mural was created in the summer of 2006 by a group of 20 high school students as part of the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program Mural Academy ( They had 3 and a half weeks to design and paint in addition to writing and creating individual works of art. This was a democracy in action mural, the students had to use consensus based decision making to create the work.

Location: Interior West Philadelphia HS / 4700 Walnut Street
Artist Facilitator: Michael Schwartz
Classroom Teacher: Kiana Thompson
Assistants: Courtney Apple

1 comment:

deb322 said...

I love the details. Amazing what a bunch of kids can do, if only we give them the tools and guidance, and then let them at it.