Brooklyn students paint city benches to speak out against bullying, racism

Student leaders from native center and excessive faculties are utilizing their inventive abilities to speak out against neighborhood points. The younger trailblazers painted city park benches, unveiled Friday at Prospect Park, with inspiring messages on delicate topics akin to racism, homophobia, gun violence and bullying.

“Our bench mural addresses the issue of bullying,” stated Laiquan Griffin, a senior at Brooklyn School for Career Development PS 753. “We choose this issue because we believe that everyone should be treated with kindness, compassion, love and especially respect. Our bench reflects positive messages that people can take with them throughout their day.”

The murals are part of the Center for Educational Innovation Benchmark — an all-inclusive social motion arts program that partnered with the city’s Parks Department and native artists and artwork academics to work with youngsters on inventive initiatives just like the painted city benches.

The artists labored with youngsters to “explore social activism, examine social-action art and artists, survey the history and practice of public art, select and research a critical social issue and formulate a message for social change, and translate that message into a bench mural,” in accordance to a launch.

Student smiling as he talk about art project on benches
Laquian Griffin, a senior at Brooklyn School for Career Development PS 753, talks about his class’ anti-bullying bench mural.Photo by Jada Camille

Mya Willia, considered one of Griffin’s classmates, stated she discovered the significance of elevating consciousness and “to love people even though life is hard.”

Another pupil, center schooler Hm Imtiaz, defined the that means behind his classmate’s Ukrainian crisis-inspired bench.

“We collectively agreed that the Ukraine crisis was difficult to understand. We came up with the slogan ‘War will end, we will mend’ because we are hopeful that we can find peace in this world,” stated Imtiaz, of Students of Herbert S. Eisenberg IS 303. “Our bench shows images that represent peace and the after effects of war.”

Jules Roberts, the educating artist who helped Imtiaz and his classmates, defined why the kids selected the pictures they painted.

“We made a mural in which the back of the bench shows in a comic book format the narrative progression of a child’s experience in war,” stated Roberts. “You see a young girl playing with a teddy bear, having fun, and then you see how soldiers come in and the destruction and harm that war causes and this loss of childhood innocence.”

“The students have really powerful language skills and ability to come up with these beautiful slogans,” Roberts added.

According to one other educating artist, Laura McAdams, her faculty’s bench aimed to symbolize how racial discrimination impacts psychological well being. 

Song Yoo and her students created a portray that acknowledged “Your Health Matters” with small anecdotes of what the students deemed pivotal to correct psychological well being.

Artists talks about her students bench mural
Song Yoo, a educating artist with CEI Benchmark talks in regards to the that means behind her students’ mural on a city bench. Photo by Jada Camille

Senior Program Coordinator Tara Kilbane cheered the art work and the messages students created on their benches.

“You have a powerful, meaningful and beautiful message on your bench. You’re going to make a huge impact this summer,” stated Kilbane. “You should be proud of yourselves.”

Participating academics and artists affirmed the kids’s work and careworn the significance of their creativity. 

“In this current climate, young people need a public platform to express themselves on current social issues in a constructive, creative, hands-on and powerful way, so they can join the conversation and make a difference,” Alexandra Leff, creator and director of Arts Education at CEO, informed Brooklyn Paper. “We are so proud of our students who have brought their passion and creativity and have taken on major issues in beautiful and powerful ways through their bench murals. Their messages for social change will inspire thousands of people this summer in our citywide parks exhibition.”

This year’s mural program served over 1,200 students in over 32 faculties throughout the city.

Brooklyn faculties concerned with the initiative had been Joseph B. Cavallaro IS 281, Herbert S. Eisenberg IS 303, IS 381, Marine Park JHS 278, New Heights MS 722, School for Career Development PS 753, and the Summit Academy Charter School 730.

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