“The Gateway to Tomorrow” is a celebration of the hidden treasures within the Brownsville community, namely its school and students. The participants of the artist team are students of Brownsville Academy and were able to incorporate their ambitions into the mural. As part of the research that occurred before starting the mural, participants practiced painting portraits as well as shared their hopes for their future as a brainstorming process. The piece acts as inspiration for students to finish school and pursue their dreams.
Each figure within the mural is one of the young artists, highlighting Brownsville Academy’s pride for its students. The figures all have symbolic images either within their hats, hair, or headdress, signifying the importance of education and a higher intellect. One student wears an Egyptian headdress; the patterns inside of which embody the different obstacles the youth must overcome through learning and education. Another student wears a graduation cap with a hot air balloon in the shape of an owl, as a representation of a way to improve quality of life through the power of wisdom. Similarly, a figure has activities and future jobs wrapped within her hair as well as an open door that reads ‘exit,’ symbolizing that one achieves true freedom through education. Finally, another student wears a hat with Marcus Garvey on it and a thriving community at his back; this represents the struggles that education and knowledge can overcome for an individual as well as a community as a whole.
“The Gateway to Tomorrow” acts as an inspiration for students to pursue knowledge and is symbolic of the fact that a complete education will lead to a better adult life with more freedom to pursue one’s dreams.