Project Description

Year UP, an organization dedicated to aiding students gain access to the necessary education and experience required to reach their full potential, worked in collaboration with Groundswell to create “Kaleidoscopic Bridges.” The mural was installed with the assistance of local youth in order to brighten up the organization’s café with an abstract representation of their mission. Year UP promotes six core values in all aspects of their work: respect, honesty, accountability, engage and embrace diversity, strive to learn, and work hard and have fun.
 
The mural embodies these six values through the use of hexagons. Similarly, the six bridges featured in the work represent the six core values as well as symbolize the bridging of a divide through teamwork and cooperation. The interacting hands are engaged in a game of “cat’s cradle,” where two or more players collaborate to create string figures; this is symbolic of the transforming network at Year UP that is created and altered by each member of the community. The new mural at Year UP inspires collaboration and represents the benefits of forging relationships and networking. 

Project Description

Groundswell, New York City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, and Dominican Women's Development Center collaborated to bring a new mural at the George Washington Educational Complex. “INpower” was completed by Lead Artist Gina Goico, Assistant Artist Joiri Minaya, and a team of young women artists. The mural explores self-love as an act of resistance for young women of color, especially those of whom are marginalized in multiple facets of their identity.
 
During the design phase of the mural-making process, the group of young women discussed the issues they faced as young women of color, included body image/self-worth, vulnerability caused by social media use, street harassment, and gender-based discrimination. To combat these insecurities, the central image of a girl hugging herself declares "Love your mind, your body, your soul." Scenes framed by a complex braid design depicts moments when self-love might be difficult. This mural captures the importance of empowering young women to love themselves.
 
Natalie, one of the youth artists on the project, said about her experience working on the mural: “When I first joined this program, I thought ‘oh I probably won’t come back.’ But I realized working with my team that this was a great opportunity for the community. The more I come, the more I find people I like. I can share my feelings and experiences with other girls, and they do the same with me. We come together. I feel like we are all open minded and caring with one another now.” 

Project Description

In a mural installed in a high-traffic staircase, students at IS 254 used art as a tool for social change to educate their peers about the history and heritage of the local Fordham Heights and Belmont neighborhoods.
 
As research, the team completed a community mapping exercise. The students learned about the different institutions, places, resources, and cultural groups in the neighborhood. They identified places that we wanted to research such as the Lorillard family, the Metro North Station, Arthur Avenue in Little Italy, the Botanical Garden, the Bronx Zoo, and Fordham University.
 
Using their mapping research, the young artists created collages and drawings. An example of how the students influenced the outcome of the design is that many of them mentioned Poe Park as being a significant landmark to IS 254 students despite appearing far from the school. The students were also excited about referencing the Bronx as the birthplace of hip hop and even knew the specific intersection where it is said to have originated. The “Pioneers of Hip Hop” section recognizes KRS-One, Grandmaster Flash, and Kool Herc.
 
Through their elaborate design, the team captured the important histories of Fordham Heights, Belmont, and the entire borough of the Bronx.

Project Description

Through an afternoon mural-making program through Groundswell, a team of IS 62 Ditmas 8th grade students transformed five sets of the school's entrance doors to welcome students with a love of learning and their community. With colorful scenes representing their aspirations, the youth artists captured the energy of being in middle school.
 
For their design, the youth wanted to symbolize the growth that occurs when students of Ditmas first arrive on their first day of school to when they mature into 8th graders ready to tackle the world of high school. The panels tell a story of a student being led through the school environment on their first day.
 
Scenes include a crowd of students entering the school, a student performing on stage, a bustling hallway full with students ready to learn, and a playground scene that playfully includes a student spilling milk. The composition of each set of doors includes on letter from the acronym STEAM (science, technology, English, art, and math), which includes the main educational disciplines around which IS 62 Ditmas centers their curriculum. 

Project Description

The mural is inspired by the participant's ideas developed after the community partners' presentation. It conveys the notions of the importance of education, sports and art at PS 282 by using specific symbolism in order to create a narrative that reflects upon the proposed goals. The visual literacy process was very rich with a great variety of ideas. The design shows the selected elements out of that wide array of images.
 
The mural works as a whole in a narrative that can be read from left to right. The left of the wall is adjacent to the street and on the far right, the wall encounters the sports playground of the school. The mural reflects a progression between the neighborhood and its highlights to transform into a sports themed landscape.
 
At the center of the wall there is a door that we have used and respected for what it is. It stands as a symbol of inclusion and openness.  

Project Description

Students from West Brooklyn Community High School brought “Illumination” to their peers through a bright, meaningful mural installed in the school’s entrance and side staircase. For many of the youth artists in the program, WBCHS stands as a second chance at achieving success in their education. They wanted to create a mural that honored the individualism and inspiration needed to take ownership of one’s future in order to encourage themselves as well as future generations of WBCHS students and staff. Their discussions during their research phase led them to center their design on the theme that WBCHS students must always reach for "the light," symbolizing the future and their full potential.
 
Their final design includes nine scenes of growth, transformation, and illumination. At the entrance, students are greeted with Lady Liberty’s lamp of justice, a phoenix, and a figure that takes off its closed-off, darkened mask to unveil bright, colorful fireworks. Stripes of colors representing rays of light draw the eye up the staircase. In the staircase, a real window streams in natural light which is symbolically “filtered” through the artists’ depiction of a dreamcatcher. Down the stairs, hands reach for light fixtures. These light fixtures illuminate a crystal, creating a rainbow prism of hope, potential, and possibility.
 
Through their many representations of “Illumination,” the young artists reflected the hope instilled in them through their WBCHS and will inspire future students for years to come.

Project Description

Students at PS 169 created a welcoming mural inspired by the Core Values of their school: F. I. R. E. (Friendship, Integrity, Responsibility, Excellence). These values are an opportunity to encourage students, staff and community members to explore different areas they can excel in school and in life.
 
In the mural, two young people are surround by serene depictions of creativity, imagination, and learning. The rainbow in the center of the mural leads into a sunset, speaking to the community of Sunset Park. In their sketches, the students also often associated the rainbow with friendship. The figure on the left speaks to the FIRE values of Excellence and Integrity. The butterflies in the book symbolize the knowledge and imagination that is opened up through reading, a symbol for education. The figure on the right waters plants to represent the values of Friendship and Responsibility values.
 
Throughout the process, the young students emerged from their shells, through games and art activities. They were nervous to present their work at a celebratory school assembly, but they overcame their fears to share their transformative experience with their classmates.

Project Description

A team of youth artists from Midwood High School transformed an overpass with a mural representing Flatbush’s history. Their mural design incorporated the experiences of students, who live in the community, and outlines the community’s history dating back to Native Americans and farmland. In addition to the individual experiences and research of local students, the history incorporated into the mural is based on the findings of Ron Schweiger, a historian for Kings County, who led the team on a walking tour around the neighborhood.
 
To depict the changing nature of the Flatbush neighborhood over hundreds of years, “The People’s History of Flatbush Junction” features a series of portraits that is a detailed rendition of a time period. Each portrait uses perspective, scale, proportion, and color to depict a composition that is visually informative, stimulating, and readable. Reading left to right through history, scenes include Flatbush’s important histories through such eras as the American Revolutionary War, the industrial age, and contemporary times. The leftmost portrait is a figure looks out to the future and wears a high-tech spacesuit. All the faces together sewn by the river of time make up a pretty compelling mural of history and culture.

Project Description

As part of the Teen Empowerment Mural Apprenticeship, a team of young artists created three banners The AIDS Center at Montefiore Medical Center. The banners brighten up a hallway leading into the clinic. The hope with these banners was to create positivity in the clinic and enhance the welcoming environment that the clinic already has thanks to its wonderful staff.
 
In the left banner, a 4 train supported by green beams references the elevated platforms seen throughout the Bronx. A figure holds up the train who represents a patient of the clinic. She has a cape to emphasize her heroism in supporting the train, which can represent family or any other form of community in the Bronx. This symbol represents the idea that “everyone is a hero” at the clinic, both staff and patients.
 
The middle banner is centered on a figure representing a patient being helped and healed by love and hope that the staff and doctors are providing. The figure is composed of different colors to represent the diversity of the patients in the clinic. He holds a heart in a jar resembling roots. This heart and the vine growing out of it illustrates the health both physically and mentally of the patients. The figures on either side of the middle figure show the doctors and staff of the clinic, who support their patients.
 
The right banner contains the symbol of the shaking hands puzzle heart is being put back together, this represents the repairing of relationships romantic, family, and platonic. The figures putting the puzzle pieces back together can be interpreted as patients, friends, staff, or family.
 
The images, symbols, and color scheme help convey positivity, community, and love. The pastel color scheme of the banners uses the palette of sunsets and sunrises to convey hope. Through the presence of these three banners, the staff and patients of The AIDS Center at Montefiore Medical Center will be reminded every day of the strength of their community.

Project Description

Over the course of the 2015-2016 school year, a team of young artists collaborated on a public mural addressing the current and future residents of Crown Heights in a time of both change as the neighborhood physically transforms, and reflection on the eve of historically significant events. The artists embraced a vision for “One Crown Heights,” while also recognizing and celebrating the significant, unique and diverse communities in Crown Heights, including West Indian, Hasidic, and newcomer/gentrifier communities. The mural has created a space for conversation between all Crown Heights residents, as well as highlighting commonalities across difference.
 
The mural centers on a portrait of one of the young artists who is from Crown Heights. He is in a hopeful pose. Resting on his head are images that compose a crown-like shape. This "crown" is made of parts of a Crown Heights apartment building, a figure from the neighborhood, a historic photo of a youth Labor Day Parade attendee, and a bird inspired by the Caribbean Brooklyn-born artist, Jean Michel Basquiat. The portrait is split and on the inside are a few images to represent structures that can fracture the identity of the neighborhood. An overturned cop car refers the violence and tension of the 1991 riots, and construction machinery represents the fear of new development, rising rents, and displacement.
 
On the mural’s left, a Hasidic man is holding a frame with men of his congregation, standing together in unity. The image was taken from a photo of men outside of 770 Eastern Parkway, the central headquarters of the Hasidic community. He is mirrored across the mural’s composition with a Caribbean woman on the right. She is holding a photo of a young man in costume for the Labor Day Parade, taken from the Brooklyn Historical Society's archives. She is honoring the tradition of this parade, and celebrating the significance Caribbean culture in Brooklyn History.
 
The composition of the design is meant to feel like a heartbeat, and the scale of the people and buildings zooms in and out to create a rhythm. Through their thoughtful mural, the youth artists capture the energy, vibrancy, history, and future of Crown Heights.

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