by Alexandra Almagno, AfterZone Summer Scholars Educator with Brandaris Maritime
Over the summer, I had the pleasure of working with students from Esek Hopkins Middle School who wanted to work with local mural artists as their afternoon enrichment activity. Together, they learned about the history and power of public art when it comes to creating positive community messages and energizing public space in new ways. As a result, they decided that they wanted to do something to beautify their own school, striking on an old fence they felt needed a makeover.
They got busy doing image research and, once inspired, began sketching out their ideas in large scale drawings and paintings. Students presented their ideas to one another and ultimately agreed that their mural would depict city and school pride, with images of the Providence skyline flanked by images and messages that reflected an excitement about Esek Hopkins (fitting for a fence next to the sports fields) and the AfterZone Summer Scholars.
Once they agreed on the designs and layout, they grabbed their brushes and paint and got to work, excited to create a piece of public art that would become a permanent part of their school. I was so proud of the way they collaborated and respected one another’s creative visions.
It was amazing to watch these students get excited about creating something for their community, and even cooler to watch them engage with the process of learning, forming their own ideas and plans, and completing a project as a team!