I had the opportunity to develop and facilitate the art program 'Little Flower Imagines' with a North Philly High School based on the goal to create a unified school community through access to a free creative after school activities. I wanted all decisions in the project to be discussed inclusively, so the first step in the 4 month long Winter program was getting together a group of project leaders to forge our path to success.
We had weekly meetings after school to prepare the backbone of the program; Goals & action plans, outcomes, and measuring success. With my leadership, the project leaders designed this platform:
Goals- Friendship, Unity, and Acceptance
Build a diverse team of students to create artwork inspired by communication, inclusivity and growth.
How- school newspapers, social media, word of mouth
How - raffle for attendance - prize (donated from Flossie shop)
How- lunch table
How- Anonymous box, words or phrases that reflect LF as a community (good and bad)
Announcements - morning activity during homeroom
Use data for measuring changes
Identify new perspectives, relationships, and coping mechanisms when utilizing the creative process.
How - people bring in objects from home
How - incorporate music while working
How - group yoga
1:1 setting to build vibes with friends who need it
Partner with school assets to document group collaboration in efforts to promote initiative, school, and the power of artistic processes.
How - utilizing the students to film and interview students while working
How - Yearbook, talk to me Martin
How - using LFCHS insta, find out who to send pictures to or invite them to take pictures while working
How - School newspaper
Call for artists
Final write of the artwork
Measure the challenges and opportunities learned through the planning and implementing of the LF Imagines initiative.
participation/ growth of team
How - % of each grade in attendance/signed up
How - % of people who signed up but no shows
Post project Survey
exposure to outside community
was our project promoted by the school?
Are the goals of the project delivered in the message/theme of artwork?
When Considering the artwork location and process....
Consider an interchangeable design for both the staircase and atrium wall (main entrance point for students, teachers, administrators, and visitors).
Brainstorm a focal point for the mural, what’s the subject?
Growing rose with buds and petals
Footprints through garden
Blue sky with sun and clouds
What colors, lines, and shapes encourage positive vibes? What can these things represent in the mural?
Title of artwork, associated with short phrase that emphasizes project goals
We decided a mosaic mural would be a great art technique to use that would best serve our project goals and the proposed location of the main hall stairwell. When the design elements were fully discussed, I created a rough digital draft of the mosaic mural to be presented to the school in assembly and begin student sign ups for the after school program. 45 students participated used new and up-cycled materials to create the tesserae and got to work. The students really loved breaking large plates!
The mural design was drawn on a 17ft x 5 ft piece of mural cloth with 7 inch vertical lines separating the cloth into sections. After the design was drawn, the vertical lines were cut to create individual sections. This technique allowed for the tesserae to not have to be glued directly onto the stairs and for the students to be able to spread out easily.
Students met twice a week for 8 weeks gluing the tesserae to the mural cloth. We started working in the cafeteria, and then decided to post up shop in the main atrium of the school, where the mural making would be most visible to the student body and attract more participation and discussion of the project. I coincidentally found out this is where a lot of students wait for rides after school, so almost every meeting we had more participation on the mural making then just those who signed up!
After the last pieces of tesserae were glued, we starting prepping the surface where the cloth would be glue. We cleaned and sanded the stairs and acquired weights to help hold the cloth up vertically. This was the trickiest part of the mural making thus far! After 4 days working, the cloths were dried from glue and ready to be secured with grout!
We wiped, and wiped, and wiped until finally our grout was settled, dry, and the tesserae was ready to be polished and the grout sealed.
We navigated around a few hiccups during our time in LF imagines, nothing that a bit of planning and communication couldn't solve. The students, faculty, and administration is extremely proud of this student derived program and it continues to get praise from visitors of the school. I had a great time working on this program with the students of LF!