In collaboration with Ralph Pugay and middle school students from MLK Jr. School in NE Portland.
Presented by King School Museum of Contemporary Art.
Ralph and I were invited by Harrell Fletcher and Lisa Jarrett (and the administration at MLK Jr. School) to create a mural that would commemorate the middle school (MS) at MLK Jr. School. We decided to incorporate the student's thoughts and feelings into the design and production of the mural.
We started by surveying all of the MS students to find out about their memories of MLK and their dreams for the future. Next, we facilitated student-led neighborhood walks with 5-8 students at a time; each student got a digital camera to record things they like about the neighborhood surrounding the school, and as a group, they got to choose where we walked. Ralph and I used the photos and experiences that came out of those walks along with anecdotes from the surveys to design a mural for the hallway. During our organic production phase, students were invited to help us mix paint, paint walls, draw figures, and offer more ideas for what should be included. We painted during school hours, and those who were interested in participating collected notes from teachers to skip class and paint. Real people, places, and stories from the school and surrounding neighborhood make up the content of the mural.