There's one part of Becoming that we haven't really touched on yet: murals. Kristen Brown, one of our teachers, developed and led the curriculum for Becoming during both its parts. The most obvious and direct connective tissue between part one and part two of Becoming is that the hero collages created during part one are being turned into murals in part two. At the end of 2016, Kristen secured funding to put up several of these murals in the McElderry Park and Middle East area, near where most of our youth live. With funding in hand, Kristen went out to local businesses, organizations, and residents to see who would be interested in having one of the murals on their buildings or homes. And she found some takers!
Next, she had to figure out a number of logistical issues ranging from determining best locations to figuring out the best materials for the murals to dealing with copyright issues related to images of people like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jackie Robinson. With all the details settled, Kristen started working on the first mural in May. She employed a unique method to put up the morals. Since the collages were based on photographs, she didn't want to simply paint the murals. So, she had the collages printed on polytab, a cloth-like paper that adheres to walls and can be as durable as painted murals. Stay tuned for a how-to video on using polytab for murals, which is in production now.
Over the course of the summer, Kristen put up four murals with the help of Ronald, a super talented local artist. It's been especially exciting when the Jr. Viewfinders have seen the murals of themselves; they're pretty thrilled to have their faces and collages in the neighborhood. There are still more murals to come. And, ultimately, the murals part of the project will culminate in a parade, walking tour, and celebration of the murals with performances by the Jr. Viewfinders this fall! Check out some pictures of these amazing murals below.