“I Am, We Are” Mural Project
“The ‘I Am, We Are’ mural project is an example of how we build bridges between our youth and the community to enrich the city,”
On June 14, 2016, Art Resource Collaborative for Kids (ARCK) unveiled a large outdoor public mural in the Fenway neighborhood. The mural was co-created by ARCK’s middle school students from Gardner Pilot Academy in Allston, ARCK’s teaching artists and interns, and professional artist Mark Cooper, known for his collaborative art endeavors with children across the country. The multi-panel mural, 48 feet wide and 12 feet tall, is now prominently displayed at 51 Brookline Avenue between Fenway Park and Yawkey Station. Entitled “I Am, We Are,” it showcases students’ exploration of their identities and multicultural communities to an audience of millions of local and visiting passersby.
Attending our ceremony were special honorary guest Mayor Walsh and Arts and Culture Chief Julie Burros. The mayor and ARCK founder Sara Mraish Demeter spoke, and afterwards the Red Sox generously hosted a private reception for ARCK supporters, students, teachers, and families.
International Art Healing
In addition to developing programs for public schools in Boston, ARCK founder Sara Mraish Demeter has traveled to Jordan to bring a “Storytelling through Art” program to Syrian refugee children displaced from their homes and schools and living in Jordan. This international art healing program was conducted at the Family Guidance Awareness Center in Zarqa and aided by a small grant from the MIT IDEAS Global challenge.
Sara is passionate about the power of art to help heal after trauma, and hopes to continue working with children affected by the global refugee crisis. Read her blog entries from the 2013 program and 2014 program to see the impact the arts can have on children experiencing displacement and trauma.
Literacy Through Art
Parents of students, enrolled in English as a Second Language classes through Gardner Pilot Academy’s adult education program, participated in two pilot workshops: Literacy Through Art (March 2016) and Financial Literacy Through Art (May 2017, co-taught by representatives from Commerce Bank). Our pilot workshops laid the groundwork for a new Literacy Through Art program ARCK plans to offer this upcoming school year that will allow us to reach parents of our students, specifically those who are English language learners and immigrants. We aim to engage parents in their children’s art learning and school community, and enable parents to experience the therapeutic benefits of art in their own lives. We hope the program will help parents experience an increased sense of confidence, community, and safety as immigrants in the U.S. To learn more, see our blog post.
“I Am…You” Installation for HUBweek
From October 12-15, 2017, ARCK will partner with HUBweek Boston to display a student-created, interactive art installation exploring the themes of identity and community in the context of students’ lived experiences and family histories. The installation, “I AM…You,” will be co-created by ARCK and approximately 80 seventh grade students from Gardner Pilot Academy in Allston and the Lilla G. Frederick Pilot Middle School in Dorchester, both Boston Public Schools, using a shipping container at City Hall Plaza. Through fiber art, text, and projection, the work will explore the role empathy plays in envisioning both students’ cultural identities and solutions to societal issues. This project will integrate with a unit on migration and border-crossings taught by students’ humanities teachers at both schools.