Adolescent Girls from Roxbury & Dorchester Paint Mural Expressing Strength, Resilience, and Hope
Mural dedication ceremony and celebration: Wednesday, June 21, 2006.
Roxbury Youthworks’ Still We Rise building, a program of the nonprofit organization that is dedicated to providing gender specific services to DYS and DSS involved adolescent females, is now the home of a mural designed and painted by the girls themselves and inspired by Maya Angelou’s poem, “Still I Rise.” Local artists Tova Speter and Anyahlee Suderman worked with the girls for six weeks as part of the “Engaging Communities” Mural Project.
This mural is the second of three funded in part by a grant from the Fund for the Arts, a restricted fund of the New England Foundation for the Arts, and a joint venture with The Art Connection, a non-profit dedicated to making the arts more accessible to community organizations.
The process involved a “Community Input Event” in which all community members were invited for a large brainstorming session to generate possible themes and concepts for the mural. In this way the project engaged the organization and its community in the collaborative artistic process, and the teen mural painters were then able to work together to condense the ideas generated at the Community Input Event into a cohesive mural concept. All involved became a part of the design process and contributed their drawings, research, and opinions to the project.
The active participation of DYS and DSS involved females allowed for development of self esteem, pride, and empowerment as they were able to express themselves through art with an end result that will be enjoyed by all those walking or driving down Blue Hill Ave. Girls with little painting experience were given direction, taught basic painting techniques, and encouraged to share their strengths and styles.
The completed mural, “Still We Rise,” will be celebrated at a Community Mural Dedication and Art Tour on June 21, from 4:30-6:30 pm along with 25 works of art by 13 artists who have generously donated work for permanent placement at the Female Focus Initiative through The Art Connection’s art donation and placement program. Teen muralists and artists will be in attendance. Reporters are encouraged to attend the event on Wednesday, June 21 from 4:30-6:30 pm. Roxbury Youthworks is located at: 321 Blue Hill Ave, Dorchester, MA 02121.
The Art Connection builds connections between artists and their communities by bringing art to community organizations – clinics, youth and senior service programs, job training centers, shelters and residential programs, and more. The Art Connection identifies artists willing to donate their work, catalogs the works for presentation to prospective recipients, helps agencies access the appropriate work, and teaches them to care for the art. These works of art are then the permanent property of the organizations. In their new environments, art stimulates dialogue, creativity, learning and healing. This simple but powerful idea has impacted the lives of thousands in Greater Boston, giving those who often have the least access to art direct experience in their own communities. www.theartconnection.org.