Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Learning about housing in the Central neighborhood

Today our Mural Leaders met with Chris Gray of Occupy Homes MN and learned about issues of home ownership and foreclosure in the Central neighborhood. At least one of our students lives next to a home that has been foreclosed on, and all of our students were already at least somewhat familiar with the issue.

The mood in the room got a little crazy as they spoke more- the topic brought up a lot of personal memories with our students, and they soon were sharing stories of family and friends who had experienced foreclosure and homelessness.

Thanks to Chris for coming out to Green Central and sharing knowledge with our students! The question now is how might this information get worked into the mural design?

Some pictures from today:

We learn, and we have fun while we're doing it!

Friday, May 17, 2013

First Community Paint Workshop Scheduled!

It's official- our first community paint workshop site is booked! 

Join us on Thursday, July 11th from 5:30-7:30 pm to paint at the Youth Farm's Bahai Farm site on Chicago Avenue between 36th and 37th street. 

Youth Farm is a Twin Cities organization that was founded in 1995 in the Lyndale neighborhood with the purpose of creating an urban environment where youth could flourish physically, socially and emotionally as they mature into young adults. Since then, Youth Farm has expanded and currently serves about 800 youth annually in 5 different Twin Cities communities.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Visiting the Sabathani Senior Center

Mural research phase in full effect! During the month of May, Greta McLain and her crew of middle school Mural Leaders are getting out into the Central neighborhood taking pictures, doing interviews and gathering stories and information to synthesize into a preliminary mural design.

Yesterday youth visited the Senior Center at Sabathani to speak with elders about quilting, African American quilting patterns and the history of Sabathani in the Central neighborhood. They loved it and are excited to return!

Will quilting patterns be part of the final mural design? Can't wait to see!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Green Central Cafeteria Mural Finished!

The Art on the Wall class has finished creating the mural in the cafeteria at Green Central! Our middle school group, along with artists Greta McLain and Jeremiah Bey, have worked hard since January of 2013 to envision, research, design, sketch and carry out this mural. The final product is a mix of paint and mosaic.

Here are some of our students presenting about this process to an audience of 200+ families and students at the Minneapolis Community Education Service Learning Showcase on May 8, 2013.

The skills that they learned doing this mural (researching, interviewing, sketching, painting) will serve them well as we move into the research phase of The Central Identity Project!

A teacher who has worked at Green Central since 2004 commented to me today, "I walk into the cafeteria and it is transformed. It feels like a whole new spirit resides in there... it fills me with positive energy when I see it." Yes! We hope that the outside mural on the school will give that same feeling to all of Central neighborhood!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Mural Update

Great news! The Central Identity Project has been awarded a Minnesota Regional Arts Council Creative Intersections grant and a City of Minneapolis Graffiti Abatement grant. With these two grants funding the bulk of our work, this project is definitely happening!

Starting on May 13th, middle school mural leaders from Green Central school will start doing research into the Central neighborhood which will later be synthesized into a preliminary mural design to be presented to our Mural Board. Students, led by Greta McLain, will interview neighborhood residents and community organization members, take pictures of neighborhood fixtures, and do a Graffiti Study to document the amount of graffiti present at this point in the blocks surrounding Green Central. This information gathering process is an important part of the creative process, and is a skill that these students will be able to transfer to other academic and creative pursuits throughout their lives.

We are excited to officially begin our work- ideas welcome!