Thursday, May 8, 2008

RW Brown Community Center Murals

April 30 was a busy community paint day at the RW Brown Community Center where I am the lead artist on a project with the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program . I had the privilege of working with Cathy Harris, Director of Community Murals at MAP, artists Josh Smith and Colleen Kane as well as a team of people from City Year and Aramark . Throughout the day about 45 people participated, painting in a good part of the mural. The mural is being painted on a cloth that will be adhered to the wall.

This was part of a day of service sponsored by Aramark as part of their 2008-9 Building Community North American Tour. As we painted the mural other teams were working on planting garden beds, creating benches and picnic tables, planting flowers, painting and much more.

The theme of the mural is strong families supporting community. We see a student writing some thoughts. His thoughts reflect his idealism, aspirations and daily life. We see a family walking in a commons field, kids planting community gardens that are harvested with produce being transported to local restaurants and stores. Also depicted are kids playing sports under the watchful eye of neighborhood elders. Implicit in this mural is the idea that it does take an entire city to raise a child, and that this community center is providing critical support to families.

An interesting aspect of this project is the collaboration of organizations who made this mural possible. Clearly the message is out that murals are one important ingredient to building community. People feel a real sense of accomplishment, and as we did today, the team is stronger through a shared experience.

As the day ended several people said - OK - so when is the next paint day? - that was fun!

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