PPS Public Art Initiative

I have started an initiative that will raise equity in education and bring more black/POC history to Portland Public School curriculum through public displays of artwork. The initiative began after making the realization that such a gross underrepresentation of black/POC history in public school curriculum across the country only perpetuates the social divide in the United States.

The objective of the initiative is to help students understand the strength, and significance of public forms of expression in civic engagement, and empower them to become the artists and civil rights leaders of our future.

The initiative sets out to bring marginalized artists into working relationships with the Portland Public School system through artistic workshops that focus on civil engagement. Creating opportunities for marginalized folks to build working relationships with systems of power will aid in lessening wealth inequality in America.

The first project of the initiative is a mural painting project where students of my school will collaborate with a marginalized artist of Portland in the development of a design that will be implemented as a mural on one of our buildings on campus. The mural will be overlooking our community garden, and will have a focus on the intersection of ecology and civil rights. My kindergarteners will create the first design, and each grade level will refine the design all the way up to fifth grade. We are hoping to bring legendary Portland muralist and activist Isaka Shamsud-Din into a working relationship with our school by having him host mural design workshops with our students.

After a final design is agreed upon during the workshops, the artist will then work with our students in the actual implementation of the mural on the building, where the students will invite the surrounding community to paint the mural with them.

Funded by Portland, OR (May 2019)