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Christel House Academy mural

This past summer, I and Israeli artist Yael Buxbaum helped students at an art camp at Christel House Academy create a mural. After spending two weeks with the art camp at Christel House, Yael and I were left with many wonderful memories and a rekindled passion for working with children.  We came to the school with paints, brushes, panels and several lesson plans.  We left the hard work of content and design of the painting to the kids. 

They were told about being commissioned by the Indianapolis Art Center for a large mural, and we were told that it needed to be completed in two weeks.  After sharing pictures of how the children from other Christel House schools operate, they decided not only to have the mural feature all of the schools but also to join them by roads, sky and  --- most importantly --- a shared passion for education.

The project opened their minds to how the WPA projects during the Great Depression are relevant to our lives today.  They wanted to create a mural that brought hope and connection to their school.  Every day the kids learned more and more how to work together.  The first day we applied a coat of primer onto the boards.  The students were well aware of how much painting time they were given.

The last day of painting I noticed that the kids learned how to respect the painting as a whole and were much more thoughtful and patient with adding their images.  We were not only privileged to work with the children of the art camp but we were also honored to share the space with the art teacher, Gessica Mathis and Courtney.  They were incredibly supportive of the project and helped us move quickly past the stumbling blocks and into a supportive and safe space that fostered creativity and balance throughout the entire two weeks. It was a true partnership.

During the dedication ceremony we were able to Skype with one of the schools from India.  This experience allowed the children to communicate their ideas behind the mural and also state how it helped them build community and hope within the school setting.  This experience reinforced the power of art to the campers as well as how appreciative the community at large is of their contribution.


Learn more about the mission of Christel House by visiting their website: http://www.christelhouse.org/.

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