Peekskill students imagine their place in the world
A group of 20 students from Peekskill Elementary School had a golden opportunity to bring the city’s dynamic landscape to life. In return, they offered the community their budding artistry reflecting thoughtful interpretations of their world and ours.
Arts10566, the prominent nonprofit led by Executive Director Wilfredo Morel that “provides free access to the arts for young people in Peekskill”, organized the initiative to create murals on the exterior wall of Home Mason Supply , at 400 Central Ave.
Peekskill resident Kristine Keller, an artist teacher who leads classes for Arts 10566 at Assumption Church, “came in once a week to work with the kids and get their thoughts on ideas they wanted to put into the mural. “, said Tamarah Bridgewater, administrator of Arts 10566. , of Ossining. “In addition to being able to draw freely in class, students had conversations about themselves and things that were important to them.” This included their individual cultures, their connection to the community and their identity.
Apple’s iPads were used to create 3D images and record their ideas and information, to be used for QR codes accessed through the images. They learned graphics and scale to enlarge their drawings. For the finishing touch, they transferred their designs to the Home Mason Supply wall with vibrant acrylic paints.
In addition to the student artists, there were approximately 30 or more community residents on hand to work on the wall-to-wall mural.
While the students had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the art, the biggest picture to appreciate is that the creation of the mural helps children explore their contributions to society. They discover the diversity of cultures that make up the world. In some of the children’s art creations, flags of various nations are depicted, prompting mural watchers to try to match the correct country to each flag.
With stories of violence and division dominating the news media, community-building projects take on increased relevance.
“You see crazy things happening right now in certain neighborhoods – it’s awful,” said Wilfredo Morel. “Let’s use art as a way to communicate and learn something.”
Many of the students involved in the creation of the Peekskill Art Mural come from difficult home environments, dealing with extremely difficult family situations. Participating in the mural allows children to engage with art and culture in ways they may never have experienced before.
“The biggest opportunity we have here is to create change and really really teach [these students] lessons they can absorb,” Morel said.
Although the mural is directly created by the school children of Peekskill, the overall project encompasses the community as a whole. Families and local businesses have all played their own part, from simply witnessing artistic creation to event sponsors, including Empire Grant funding through the Peekskill School District, Peekskill Brewery owner Keith Berardi, who is chairman of Arts 10566, Bre Pettis of Bantam Tools, Hope for Youth Foundation, and Keith Bovolia of Home Mason Supply, who provided use of his wall and donated to help pay professional artists. Arts 10566 also thanks the Lanza Foundation for its continued support.
“It’s not just one person doing something. It’s everyone in the community who has a helping hand [the mural]added Bridgewater, who has reached out to other organizations in the community, advocating for the creation of more public art projects.
“Murals have become very important now,” she said. “Everyone is in it. I absolutely anticipate something happening, certainly in Peekskill and hopefully outside of here as well.
Alex Horowitz is a freelance writer currently living in New York. He grew up in Briarcliff Manor, where his family still resides.