The YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL mural project on East Washington continues our ongoing effort to carve out opportunities for many different voices to be represented in public spaces. We will paint the YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL mural alongside LGBTQIA+ youth while participating in a global art initiative, memorializing a talented artist-alum of Madison East, and reminding everyone living in Madison that they are beautiful.
When Madison East alum Brendan Scanlon—also known as street artist SOLVE—passed away in 2008, memorial art calling out YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL popped up around Madison, Chicago, and the world. SOLVE and others in his collective had painted the message around Chicago before his death, and it grows as a public art project 14 years in the making. Aesthetically diverse YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL murals have risen out of Illinois, Oregon, Pennsylvania, New York, Texas, and California--and even beyond the states, such as Italy. When we create the YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL mural, we will be participating in a globally understood conversation that can be traced back to Madison. This mural project will live in both its history and its future simultaneously; it honors the art of those before us while optimistically anticipating what our community can do for each other in the years to come.
ArtWrite artists will paint the mural alongside queer and trans teens. These youth, who will be recruited out of the queer and trans groups with which ArtWrite often partners, will be co-artists in the process of painting and designing. These youth will gain experience in public art making and find an outlet in creative expression. We’ll be partnering with programs of UW- Madison to develop a cascading model of mentorship, where professional artists will mentor college students who will then mentor teen artists as they explore their creative practice--although, from the outside, this will all look and feel like a bunch of artists hanging out, eating pizza, and reminding neighbors that they are beautiful.
Funded by Madison, WI (February 2018)