South Park Library Mural

And that’s a wrap!

Watch a reading of the book ONLINEAvailable in English and Spanish .

This youth lead mural was inspired by the book Maybe Something Beautiful by Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell for the South Park Branch of the Seattle Public Library. South Park reminds me of the neighborhood depicted in the book with all our murals, colorful people, and community. This was one of my first projects with The Seattle Public Library. Their goal was to paint a mural in the conference area of the South Park location and hired to me to create the curriculum, assist with the outreach, guide the youth in the mural process, and help complete the mural for a final community unveiling. We decided on weekly sessions for a month to plan and paint a mural with a call to youth artists.

First sessions we brainstormed ideas of what we’d like to see in the mural. Our initial design had elements of the neighborhood in a night and day theme. One side was bright and colorful, the other muted and quiet. We incorporated The South Park bridge and the unique Catalpa trees that grow in the neighborhood. Afterwards we created a sketch which I then cleaned up and colored based on a palette of colors we selected and submitted it to the higher ups for approval. 

Approved Design

While there were slight adjustments, the concept was approved and we could begin painting immediately which we did. I had a solid group of girls who while hesitant at first immersed themselves in the colors, textures and patterns of the art. We collectively problem solved color issues such as color values, contrast, and placement when things got a little weird. Their flexibility and ability to think of new ideas on the spot was amazing. I was really impressed with how well they worked together too. See below some of the progress shots of us painting. We even snuck in a weekend painting to ensure the mural was complete by our deadline for the unveiling.

One thing we really enjoyed with each other was sharing music and food. For my programming I try create shared experiences with my participants. One of the main ways to connect is through food and music. Each week I brought special snacks from different parts of the city representing the cultures and ethnicities we all share. We also took turns being in charge of the music and learning about each others tastes. There might have been a dance party or two!

To unveil the mural the library and local elementary school Concord hosted a story walk where we walked through the neighborhood and read panels from the book. We ended the walk at the library to unveil the mural and say a little something about the process, the youth artists, and to celebrate the newest art addition to South Park. Special thanks to the amazing super librarian Lupine M. for creating the programming for all of this, getting books for the story walk donated in English AND Spanish for the story walk, and for the support to make this happen.

Please enjoy pics of the finished piece!

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