Drip, splatter, and spray large scale art! Painting workshops explore visual art and creative expression through the use of drawing, color, and painting, music and conversation. Starting with pencil and paper, participants are led through a design session where they learn different ways to convert a small image to a large canvas, mix colors and apply different visual techniques.
A student says:
"I look at this mural every time I am on the phone. I like having this around me when I am talking with my family."
Before anyone started painting during this winter break mural project, artists Maria Schirmer Devitt, Savannah Starlin & Christina Theobald ran a series of workshops over two weeks with the purpose of building relationships with and amongst students, and to create a spirit of trust and openness about the creative process as the group began to collaborate toward a final mural design for the wall where students make phone calls to family, friends and advocates.
The workshops were sometimes collaborative, making a beautiful product that everyone had a hand in creating, and sometimes the projects were individual, highlighting individual difference and voices.
The individual workshops included vision boarding for the new year, along with shoe concept and design. It was during these sessions that the students individual dreams and styles emerged. Whereas the collaborative workshops looked like mural brainstorming, exquisite corpse trading cards with inspirational messages on the back, group writing and illustrating for the mural, patterning for the mural. We also spent time playing with them in the gym and playing warm-up silly drawing games. This helped break the ice and create a spirit positive regard for each other.
After two weeks of designing, the artists brought the students some more formal design drafts and they felt very comfortable sharing their very honest, and sometimes brutal, feelings thoughts and ideas for revisions. Most of the time there were differing opinions that we had to be negotiated and worked out among the whole group, making it very helpful to cull ideas that weren’t as important.
Several big decisions and changes were eventually made to the design throughout the process, including the addition of the symbolic stairwell adorned with an important MLK quote, but the group eventually agreed on the final design and was excited to start painting.
We painted with the students in small groups during the day often in groups of 2 or 3, and in the evenings when energy was slower, we would work sometimes with groups of 4-5. It was during these paint sessions that students shared advice with one another, their fears and worries, their own experiences, their dreams.
STUDENT QUOTES:"When I first walked in yesterday, I was surprised to see all the colors. I saw the quote and it gave me hope."
"When I see this, I see stairs to a new start in life." "I had a dream we kept painting the wall and it became a powerful dragon. I feel happiness and pride when I see it." “What I see is myself standing at the top of the stairs and not just taking the first step of faith…but a leap of faith into a new life and new doors opening…which shows that even though I am back in this situation I still have a chance to see new opportunities!”
Sara Jordan and Gabrielle Javier-Cerulli teamed up to facilitate a student-led process to bring something new and eye-popping to the other recent murals already adorning the Shelter's driveway. Sara and Gabrielle are both professional art therapists practicing their work in Madison, WI, and while both are talented artists in their own right, it is the art of facilitating an inclusive process while building meaningful relationships that was shining throughout this 2-month outdoor mosaic mural project.
As students began the school year in the classroom at the Shelter Home, they had the option to join in on the development and production of the "Waves Of Change" outdoor mosaic mural 2 times each week for 6 weeks.
Starting with the creation of alcohol ink tiles, smashing the tiles, cleaning the wall, laying out the design, gluing the broken tiles, grouting the tiles and ending with sealing the wall, the staff, students and artists all contributed tremendous amounts of perspective, conversation and hard work. The design, colors and name all came from students during the low-pressure creation and development sessions along the way.
Not only has it been safer to engage outdoors during the pandemic, one of the benefits of running a group mural project outside in the community is that the neighborhood begins to join the project in various ways -- including adding tiles to the wall, bringing boxes of old tiles to use in the project, bringing out of town visitors by to check out the process, and just stopping by every few days to check out the progress.
LIKE WHAT YOU SEE? Use this map to locate this and other mosaic murals around Madison.
Teaching artists Emida Roller and Shiloah Coley worked with teenagers at the Dane County Juvenile Court Shelter Home and the Dane County Juvenile Detention Center this summer to bring youth ideas and voices to the blank concrete walls surrounding the Shelter Home's driveway. While all previous Making Justice murals have been inside the facilities and unseen by the public, this project was a chance for youth residents to work with professionals to design and define a public-facing space for themselves and for future youth residents.
Students at Shelter took the design lead and provided most of the themes and physical effort, but the students at Detention also took ownership of the project quickly - having the idea to tie in elements from their previous summer workshops with teaching artists Carlos Gacharna and Audifax into the design. Old English lettering from Carlos’ workshop reading “We Matter” appears at the top of the mural, and a design from a student at Detention done in Audifax’s abstract painting workshop was translated into the jersey worn by the young man pictured looking into the mirror, seeing his future self. While students from Detention couldn't participate in painting the wall, students at the Shelter Home were able to safely work outside with Emida and Shiloah to remove the overgrown vegetation from the hill above, then clean, prep, and paint the wall.
Learn more about how all of the pieces came together for this project in the library IMPACT STORY - Bubbler in the time of Covid: Making Justice makes it work.
During a week-long residency over the detention classroom winter break, Wisconsin artist, Jerry Butler, worked with teenagers inside the Dane County Juvenile Detention Center to bring color and warmth to the "intake room" in which all residents sit for the period of time while they are checked into the facility from the Juvenile Reception Center. This is the room where youth change out of their personal clothes, turn over their belongings and receive an orientation to the detention facility. This mural is now the backdrop that all incoming youth will view while security officers sit in front of it throughout the intake process.
After a 90-minute design session the week prior, Jerry came back to the facility to work with the teen residents over 5 days to grid and scale the final design from paper to wall, and then to apply the paint. Youth residents joined for 30 minute shifts, and one young person individually worked to design, scale, and paint a hole in the wall saying, "Even though its not real, I just think it would be really nice to see some fresh air before going into the secure facility. I call it the 'fresh air hole'."
Read more about the project in this Wisconsin State Journal article!
Made possible with the financial support from: