Friday, April 23, 2010

A couple mural inspiration images - the first is a project by artist, Peter Smuts that I contributed to. The second is a photograph of, Mahatma Gandhi.

This afternoon I will be visiting the group of 60 seventh graders I'm creating a mural with. Their Philadelphia public school has been wanting to add a mural to the third floor for some time and asked if I would take on the project. When I began to develop the theme it was Black History Month and I wanted to highlight common experiences in different cultures' civil rights movements. I chose the quote, "Be the change you want to see in this world." by, Mahatma Gandhi. This quote is the central theme, the students are each creating individual 12x12 panels that illustrate their personal hope for the future. The individual panels seem to be a good solution for dealing with the fact that standardized testing is king and carving out time and space proves somewhat difficult.

As I was looking over my notes and listening to the radio this morning I heard a report that three kids about their age were shot at one of the city's parks last night. As you may know from reading the blog, I've been interested in the movement to address the crisis of creativity in our country. Our government is now concerned because it is effecting the work force, but this deficit is effecting the quality of life in so many other ways as well -- bring the study of art to public schools and allow for more interdisciplinary studies! The connections we make in our brain when we draw and create allow us to deal with problems differently and think outside the box. Let's face it, for many children, life depends on getting out of the box their in.

This brings me back to why I was sitting at my desk in the first place. I need to find a way to engage the creativity. Out of 60 students I have a few ( few is more than two and less than five, right?) who are engaged and feel like they know where they're going with the individual panel. I was working on developing my smart-ass skills in seventh grade as well, that's not our stumbling block, getting past cliches and finding their voice is.

http://http// Is a great place for inspiration. My Friend, Diana Trout wrote an excellent book titled, Journal Spilling - It helps spark the ideas and is a wonderful jump start.

I have been reading, Zen Seeing, Zen Drawing by, Frederick Franck again as well.

I'm OK with being, "that crazy lady who came to do the mural" as long as I get these guys creating!

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