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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Graffiti hopes@ Jose de Diego school in Wynwood to hire art teachers

Should this school be shamed and refused funds?

Art starts to fill the corridors and transform the old white walls
On a beautiful morning, on bicycle, touring the Wynwood district to see the walls before the arts fairs start this week, we came across this local school swarming with artists. The story is poignant because Jose de Diego School is a school of almost 600 kids, 45% Latino and 54% black, located on the edge of the thriving arts district, that cannot afford any arts programs. The music and the arts programs have been cut completely for the last five years! They have a room full of 20 dusty keyboards and grand pianos and a closet full of art supplies, but they cannot afford to hire an art or music teacher! Because it is an "F" rated school, the chances of funds is non-existent. Enter the new principal, Dr. April Thompson-Williams, last February, and a young man named Robert de los Rios, creator of Wynwood Map. The principal refuses to be shamed, and Robert has a lot of connections to the artists in the community.
Robert and his mom, a former school teacher, talk to us about the project
This week 36+ artists from the neighborhood and around the world have arrived to paint the courtyards, the walls and hallways, throwing color all over the place.
This is a Sacred Place by LeBo
Their time is donated, their paint is sponsored, the lifts and ladders are on loan, and their hope is large. They paint during school hours and the biggest problem it has created so far is that kids linger outside their classes and ask to try their hand in moving the pigment. And many artists let them help.
These pictures show works in progress. Most of the murals are still being completed. The artists are all donating a smaller work to be auctioned off on December 2nd. Musicians will play and 100% of the funds will go to the principal to personally hire an arts teacher (or two or three).

In process of transformation!


Give voice to the arts

Can you imagine the joy and pride the students will have once their school resonates with colors and images to transform the mind. The walls will educate and inspire. I applaud the principal and school board for taking a risk, and the neighborhood artists for giving their time, and visionaries like Robert who use art to try and make a difference.
We should all look forward to checking back with the school to see the next chapter where the student's works are being developed...

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