Seven teenagers, many of whom fled violence in Central America and who are clients of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), spent three weeks working with Artolution artists to design and paint a large-scale public mural that reflects on their experiences. The mural’s official unveiling and accompanying theatrical and dance performances created by the youth took place during the closing event in front of the mural on August 20, 2021.
Through collaborative art-making, these young immigrants are sharing the human stories of fleeing conflict, arriving in an unfamiliar country, and their journey adapting and surviving in a new environment. The teens came together through performance and the development of a large-scale mural to represent their ideas, dreams, and values through the development of their own characters. “Our Creative Roots Nuestras Raíces Creativas” is led by Artolution’s Co-founder, Joel Bergner and Head of Performance, CJ Thomas, with assistant artists Ruth Murcia and Angela Fang Zirbes. This is the organization’s second mural collaboration with KIND clients, including a mural in NYC’s East Village that was revealed in 2019.
“It was a wonderful experience to work with these young people and see their visions come to life in both their characters they included in the mural and in their performance. I was touched hearing they wanted to create a story about the effects of ignorance and how one person advocating/standing up can help to bring others to see the wrong in their action. Artolution continues to create these safe spaces for young people to feel comfortable in expressing their stories in a creative manner” – Lizbeth Veliz, KIND Social Services Supervisor
Click here to watch the full performance and see photos from mural project below: