Over the last year, Boston University School of Visual Arts and Roxbury Preparatory School at the Lucy Stone Campus formed an ongoing partnership to create transformative arts experiences for students at the charter school and the School of Visual Arts. The partnership consisted of a series of in-school art-making workshops, and culminated in a collaborative mural project on the Roxbury Prep campus that involved graduate and undergraduate students, artists from the Roxbury community and Roxbury Prep staff, students and families.
Below, MFA Painting student Josué Rojas (CFA ’15) talks about the experience of creating the mural.
A team of CFA Undergrads & Grads, CFA Staff, and the students, teachers and staff of Roxbury prep started and finished a 175 foot long mural in Dorchester, at the Roxbury Prep Charter Middle school. Neighbors, family and even passers-by were urged to make a mark.
The wall was stone-brick, perhaps the most difficult surface I’ve ever painted on—tough stuff. But I knew that collectively we were tougher. It’s a testament to the community’s resilience and grit (although our brushes suffered significant abuse).
Above: A time-lapse video of the mural as it was created (Courtesy Akhil Bhatt)
Local public artist Cedric Douglas, of the UPtruck brought the mobile art classroom and joined in the action. This was of huge importance–– as participating students of Roxbury Prep were able to meet this amazing local artist and learned of time and places to access the project.
The experience of collaboration was truly the highlight.
The way I see it, the creative process is the moment of arts greatest potential–– the power of which is dispersed by participation in communal creative production. The greatest gift of art is not the experience of a work as spectator, but the opportunity to step into the role of the artist, to experience the transformative act of authorship. That’s what this type of project provides for kids, and the community at large.
School of Visual Arts Director ad interim Jeannette Guillemin, who worked with SVA students and faculty, Roxbury Prep, and the BU Arts Initiative to make the partnership a reality, said of the project, “It was great fun—and beyond that, it was a constructive, joyous event filled with music, laughter and a sense of community. I hope it’s just one of many forthcoming exchanges between the university and communities in Boston.”
Below: Gallery of photos courtesy of mural participant Logen Zimmerman.