We’re excited to unveil a brand-new mural at Lucy Craft Laney Community School in North Minneapolis. With funding from the City of Minneapolis’s Collaborative Safety Strategies, Hawwa Youngmark, lead teaching artist on the project, worked with Lucy Laney third, fourth, and fifth-grade students to complete a mixed media mural in their auxiliary multi-purpose space through the Beacons after school program. From October 2018 through March 2019, Hawwa, photographer Zainab Youngmark, and JXTA programs and outreach intern Jahliah Holloman worked with students to develop design concepts, practice multimedia construction, and eventually craft the mixed media mural.
The Collaborative Safety Strategies Initiative called for an outdoor mural to bring awareness to violence prevention on the intersection of Lowry and Penn, an intersection with disproportionately high levels of crime. Its proximity to Lucy Laney has affected the young people at the school: the mural’s creation serves as a response to this. Says Hawwa: “Our design relates to the mural theme (neighborhood violence) by highlighting one of the most important aspects of the community: our children. These children have been hurt and affected by the violence in many ways and this is our way of showing how beautiful and important they are.”
Working with JXTA Chief Cultural Producer Roger Cummings, Hawwa came up with concepts by drawing from the 2016 “Who We Are” mural, it itself inspired by the works of Emory Douglas. The Lucy Laney mural features similar rays of color (in gold) and photographs of Lucy Laney students taken during the after-school sessions. Photographer Zainab worked with students to learn the basics of photography and practice capturing images that would ultimately be used in the project. The images of students serve two purposes: to ensure current students’ ownership of the mural – in its location and creation – and to leave a legacy and act as a personal connection to the future students of Lucy Laney.
The indoor multi-purpose room mural is complete; now, a banner version will be created and hung outside Lucy Laney for the public to see as the final element of the project. Keep an eye out in the coming months outside Lucy Laney.