Painting.with paint

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. Many of our painting projects revolve around mural residencies.

Youth Justice & Prevention
"Bollards" mural by Jerry Butler and teens at Youth Justice & Prevention
"Bollards" mural by Jerry Butler and teens at Youth Justice & Prevention

On the first day of group, Jerry Butler led Madison teenagers at Youth Justice and Prevention (formerly Neighborhood Intervention Program) through a conversation around a masterpiece of Black history, Judgment Day by Aaron Douglas. The work encapsulates the dynamic culture of the Harlem Renaissance through its striking colors and patterned lines. Hidden stories fill the scene, awaiting the viewer to unlock their mysteries.

"Bollards" mural by Jerry Butler and teens at Youth Justice & Prevention

Using the design patterns and techniques of Aaron Douglas, teens had the opportunity to craft images of their own using the methods of expression over several weeks.

"Bollards" mural by Jerry Butler and teens at Youth Justice & Prevention
"Bollards" mural by Jerry Butler and teens at Youth Justice & Prevention
"Bollards" mural by Jerry Butler and teens at Youth Justice & Prevention
"Bollards" mural by Jerry Butler and teens at Youth Justice & Prevention
"Bollards" mural by Jerry Butler and teens at Youth Justice & Prevention
"Bollards" mural by Jerry Butler and teens at Youth Justice & Prevention
"Bollards" mural by Jerry Butler and teens at Youth Justice & Prevention
"Bollards" mural by Jerry Butler and teens at Youth Justice & Prevention
Youth Justice & Prevention
WATCH: 1-minute video of mural production process.

While the hallways and classrooms are already decked out in large scale teen artwork from the previous Bubbler projects Too Much Sauce and Mask Off, the Youth Justice & Prevention (formerly Neighborhood Intervention Program) operation recently completed a building renovation and collaborated with the Bubbler to continue engaging youth in projects that define the people and the space inside the facility.

Eight local teens joined Audifax after school for one day each week over the course of two months as they worked together to design and then paint the "Bloom" mural in the YJP cafeteria, which is an open common space used by teenagers that is sandwiched between a kitchen and a wood working shop. See more about this project on Audifax's wesite.

"Bloom" cafeteria mural by Audifax and youth in Youth Justice & Prevention
Juvenile Detention Center

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."

WATCH: 1-minute video of mural production process.

Before anyone started painting during this winter break mural project, artists Maria Schirmer Devitt, Savannah StarlinChristina 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 phone wall -- the space 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. 

One of many "The First Step" mural visioning boards
"The First Step" design collage from first week
Draft digital design by Savannah Starlin

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.

Juvenile Detention Center phone call wall
"The First Step" mural @ Dane County Juvenile Detention Center
"The First Step" mural production process
"The First Step" mural created by students at Dane County Juvenile Detention Center with artists Maria Schirmer Devitt, Savannah Starlin and Christina Theobald



"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!”
mascot mural project

Read the full story and feel the impact of this year-long school mascot project with Audifax and students in Madison Metropolitan School District's four METRO classrooms.

WATCH: mural production at Dane County Juvenile Detention Center
WATCH: mural production at Dane County Jail in the Public Safety Building
WATCH: mural production at Dane County Jail in the City-County Building
WATCH: mural production at Dane County Juvenile Court Shelter Home
Juvenile Court Shelter Home
WATCH: mosaic mural from start to finish in 2-minutes!

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.

View of 3 different murals by 5 different artists that surround the Shelter Home driveway

See more about this driveway transformation in this impact story.