The Sea of Transformation

  • The mermaid symbolizes transformation from one form to another.
  • Messages show the possibility of transformation as they surround an early sketch draft.
  • In the bottom-left corner, three eggs come into being and represent that we all begin as potential life.
  • Council Member Carlos Menchaca gives an impassioned speech to dedication attendees about community engagement.
  • After the dedication, the team reflects on the mural and how transformation looks different for everyone.
  • "Darkened Youth - Consume Inspiration - Embrace Your Soul"

Project Description

Twelve students at South Brooklyn Community High School (SBCHS) participating in an intensive Cultural Afterschool Adventures (CASA) Program to create this mural, “The Sea of Transformation,” in their school cafeteria. When students first enroll at SBCHS, a model transfer high school operated in partnership with Good Shepherd Services, they are asked one question: “What are you ready to change?”
Inspired by this question, the youth mural team reflected on the transformation of students at SBCHS: During an intensive research phase, they interviewed SBCHS staff, administration, fellow students, and alumni. They developed visual imagery that reflects the growth and development of SBCHS young people, from who these students are when they arrive to who they’ve become as they prepare to graduate. In recognition of SBCHS’s Red Hook location, this transformation is captured in the mural in vibrant ocean imagery, including a seagull taking flight and a mermaid figure which evokes notions of change and renewal.
Across the top of the mural reads a poem written by one of the youth participants: “Darkened youth. Consume Inspiration. Embrace your soul.” The mural itself follows this poem’s message: starting from dark and troubled places, moments of transformation lead to the colorful bounty of possibility.
Download educational curriculum (pdf)

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.

Project Info

Fun Facts

The octopus represents the malice that holds us back from our bright future.
Suggested Activity
Answer yourself “What are you ready to change?” like the students did when they entered SBCHS.
In New York City, there are nearly 140,000 young people who have dropped out or are significantly off-track for graduation.