The Diversity Mural Project

Young Audiences’ Run for the Arts is a simple and effective fundraising jog-a-thon that helps schools raise money for arts in their school. 

I was asked by 5th grade teachers, ReCher Kim and Daniel Pack at Stephenson Elementary if I would work with their students to create a mural as a way to utilize the funds they helped raise.

Happy to do so!!!

The subject of the mural would be 'Diversity'. I would have 40+ children to be involved. The location would be a hallway space. Deadline for completion, mid April. 

I met with the students. I gave them an overview of
• who I was - a professional working artist,

• what I was up to - working on a local author's children's book and applying for work as an animator (I shared this video in class as an example of operating beyond the box),
• and most importantly, how I approach creating an image that relates to a concept. 

I met with the students. I gave them an overview of
• who I was - a professional working artist,

• what I was up to - working on a local author's children's book and applying for work as an animator (I shared this video in class as an example of operating beyond the box),
• and most importantly, how I approach creating an image that relates to a concept. 

Students submitted a treasure of drawn out ideas.

I formulated an idea.

Returning to the classroom, I issued three pieces of paper. 

• On one, there was a circle. Inside the circle they were to draw and color a picture of something that was impacted by diversity.

• Another page given had a printed picture of a hand. I'd made multiple variations to serve as template for their decoration. I was excited that many chose to go their own way and trace or draw their hand as they wanted.

• For the third page, I had them each choose a word from a 'hat'. Each of these words were examples of areas where diversity occurs. For example: faith, place of birth, education, ethnicity, etc.. They were to write these words in a decorative form. 

All of this and the concept of Diversity was discussed along the way. I truly valued being a part of this discussion with these young people. 

I got some GREAT images back!!!
Now I had to make something pretty and cohesive with them. 
Not a problem!!! I've been working with Photoshop since it's inception. I often play a game with others where they draw a scribble and I have to make something of it. 
It's kind of like having a bunch of puzzle pieces on a table except there's no box to look at to put them together. They can fit together any way but only look good together in certain ways.

 

Here are the concepts that I came up with:

 

Final Design:
The Diversity Mural - Stephenson Elementary

If you would like to stay informed on the progress of this project, or have a desire to have something done like this in your child's school, please let me know!!

Have a wonderful day!
Nate Jensen

© 2019 by NATE JENSEN - Portland based Muralist, Illustrator, Animator, Designer

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