Thursday, June 7, 2007

Feltonville School for the Arts and Sciences Mural

"The Pride of Feltonville"

This project is a part of the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program Beautifying Schools-Transforming Lives project. Since April of this year I’ve been working with a fantastic group of students a remarkable art teacher, Trina Brand and their dedicated principal Ralph Burnley. On June 1, 2007 we held our community paint day. Over 60 people participated, led by the students I have been working with.

As a teaching muralist with MAP I have observed the changes in students as they take part in this program. These measurable outcomes include;

1) Increased willingness to collaborate and communicate differences.

2) Meeting and exceeding the Pennsylvania Department of Education's Academic Standards for Arts and Humanities including a comprehensive understanding of the elements of art, principles of design and historical context of murals.

3) A feeling of accomplishment and pride resulting in higher self esteem.

4) A feeling of being connected to a larger community, of belonging and connectivity.

5) A unique hands on approach to putting into practice what we have learned in the classroom.

6) A reduction in violence because students learn to collaborate and communicate their feelings, to channel their emotions into something positive.

7) a place where everyone feels included and accepted, where differences become strengths.

8) Students report feeling more connected to their creative and poetic sensibilities, thus
teaching students to be divergent non linear thinkers. This skill set is specifically what many employers are looking for in today's competitive global economy.

I’ll be posting more information and images when the mural is finished.

Just after Community Paint Day I received this letter;

School District of Philadelphia Mural Arts Project
Beautifying Schools-Transforming Lives

June 5, 2007

Dear Friends,

As you may have heard or read, our School District Mural Arts Project has been cut from the School District budget for next year.

I am urging you to write and/or email the people whose names are listed at the bottom of this letter to tell them about the wonderful collaboration between the School District and the Mural Arts Program and how it has benefitted your students and your school community.

It would be a great loss to hundreds of children if this program is cut. The comment that most students wrote on the post-test was that working together as a team to create a work of art was the most important thing they learned in the Mural Arts Class. They learned about the history of mural arts, community involvement, developing skills to make a mural and to respect each others’ opinions and abilities.

We have just completed our third year (60 murals) and were hoping for at least another 2 years….we would have liked this grant to have been available for many more years into the future!

I would appreciate your support in this matter and, as soon as possible (I know how busy you all are finishing things at the end of the school year). It would be a great way for you to show your appreciation for the wonderful piece of public art that you have received.

Please cc the emails or letters to me.

Thank you,

Deborah Zuchman
Project Manager
School District of Philadelphia Mural Arts Project
1729 Mt. Vernon Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
T: 215. 685.0739
FAX: 215.685.0757
James Nevels, Chair
Sandra Dungee-Glenn
Martin Bednarek
James Gallagher
Denise Armbrister
c/o School District of Philadelphia
440 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130

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