Art Ready mural artist Rebecca Graves had originally thought we would need two Saturday sessions for painting the mural (which she designed with a small group of past and current Art Ready and Summer Arts Intensive students). Turns out, our talented group needed only one day to cover every wall of the Metropolitan Corporate Academy cafeteria with the design’s brightly colored African-inspired patterns and animals.
We had a small crew start setting up and painting at 10am on March 19, and by the early afternoon we had a big team of students, parents, teachers and professional artist volunteers working together. By the time the day ended at 5pm, the only work left to do was some touching up and detail work, which Rebecca finished on her own during the week that followed.
Things would not have gone as smoothly if Rebecca had not put in substantial prep work in advance: transferring the whole photoshop-generated design to the wall using an opaque projector and pencil, and outlining each separate block of color with paint so it was easier for un-trained painters to fill in quickly. The design also lent itself well to painting by a large group of people with varying skill levels, with its repeating areas of solid color distributed evenly around the room.
Having the right type of materials was also important in making things go as efficiently as possible, such as good-quality filbert brushes for painting the smooth outlines quickly, pre-mixed colors, and plastic cups for distributing small amounts of paint to a lot of people.
Mostly, it was thanks to the dedication and hard work of the mural team that we were able to transform an entire room in just one day. Special thanks to Jeanette Oaks, Metropolitan Corporate Academy guidance counselor, for all her hard work coordinating the project on the school’s end! And congrats to the students who helped out (with both designing and painting)–see list of participants below!
We also celebrated the project through an unveiling ceremony on April 14, 2011, in which the school expressed its appreciation of the project.
Student team: Elijah Barrott, Abigail Copantitla, Octavia Davis, Joseph Foster, Akeel Douglas, Hana Jones, Lesly Manzanarez, Kabrina McRae, Zipporah Meredith, Donelle Moore, Catherine Moreno, Ezra Singh, Brianna Thomas
Additional Volunteers: Venisse Charles, Katherine Gressel, Erica Langstroth, David Moriarity, Maja Sweeny