“Alchemy: a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination.”
Creating these vibrant and meaningful murals with children and their families feels like alchemy at its best. With any piece of art, you start out with nothing- a blank canvas or a lump of clay- and you end up with a window into a new world. In the “Our Eagles Soar” mural seen above- which is only one 8′ x 8′ piece of an 8-panel project completed in June of 2017- more than 800 kids and their families worked together to make the buildings and schoolyard at Juan de Anza Elementary beautiful and alive. When seen from the endlessly trafficked La Cienega Blvd., the mural becomes a panoramic rainbow of whimsy and joy. It is a gift to the larger community of passersby and future students, and I am the lucky one who had the privilege of shepherding the project into existence.
While working to complete the “Our Eagles Soar” mural with the help of more than forty “Art Angels” (volunteers), another of my community projects simultaneously came to fruition. “Up & Up” was a new undertaking for me- a multi-media project incorporating elements of music, visual art and video, inspired by the song from Coldplay’s recent album “A Head Full of Dreams.” Among the more than 500 separate art pieces created for the project were these gorgeous stage curtains painted by the fifth graders:
Imagine an auditorium filled with hundreds of pieces of children’s art. More than fifty 5th graders singing. Behind them a backdrop of giant projections of more of their imagery. Gorgeous stage curtains flank the singing children. The song ends with the words “Don’t ever give up.”
It was moving beyond belief.
I had the enormous pleasure of announcing to the student-artists and their families that the band Coldplay had honored them with an Instagram post about the project that ultimately received more than 200,000 likes!
All of this is to say that it comes down to love- the love of color and beauty, the love of children, the love of art-making, the love of music, the love of family, the love of collaboration, the love of community.
My next labor of love will be a mural with the kids from the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Los Angeles. The CEO of Blick Art Materials has generously agreed to donate the supplies and now I’m looking for a donor to underwrite the remaining $9,000 needed for the project. If you know of any individual or organization that might be interested please let me know! (tax deductible)