Mount Horeb Mental Wellness Mural

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Mount Horeb Mental Wellness Mural

The students at Mt. Horeb High School needed to find a way to address the mental health struggles they knew were so often suffered by their classmates in silence.  Mental wellness is a topic that many of us struggle to talk about; we don’t know the right words to say or how to say them. But a small group of compassionate Seniors decided that they were not going to let everyone remain silent. They would open a dialogue to help ensure that Mental Wellness is something that everyone can talk about, to make the path to seeking help less difficult and to break down the stigma that still so often surrounds the issues. 

 

These students, Kristen Koenig, Lexi Ricci, and Taylor Roys were dedicated to their goal and the issue was very near to their hearts as all had been deeply affected by the recent tragic suicide of close friend and classmate.  Art teachers Anna King and Dana Showers, as advocates for these students, reached out to DAMA. They asked if we could help them create a Mental Wellness Mural. We had recently worked with Mt. Horeb students on a mural for the Black Earth Children’s Museum. The students enjoyed the paint days and the teachers saw how creating together fostered conversation and engaged students minds.  We were humbled by the opportunity to help these students to help each other.  The mural began with conversations; the student’s stories, drawings and a quote “I lift my chin, and embody the light” informed our creative process. 

 

DAMA artists, inspired by the project, came up with different designs for the students and teachers to choose from.  The group decided on my image of a jungle, lush and green to give a feeling of warmth in the cold and dark.  One side is overgrown with foliage, this transitions to a side that is more open with sunshine falling through the trees.  The foliage would be a collage of leaves that all displayed an inspirational, positive, or heartfelt message from the students.  The seniors created a presentation to share their vision and goal with the school and they gathered messages from everyone.

 

DAMA had one week in the school to engage with students and create a mural.  Because of future school renovations I designed the mural to be painted on eight 4’ by 4’ panels that could each be housed separately until it had a permanent home.  Showers and King shared a sign up sheet with other teachers and by day one this sheet was full!  Over the course of our week at Mt. Horeb High School over 1,000 students took part in creating their Mental Wellness Mural!  One thousand students, plus teachers, parents and community members came together! 

 

This project had many parts, some students painted the forest, others smooshed and cut poly-tab.  We created lettering stations where students carefully painted the messages that had been gathered. While painting these messages students were also able to read what their classmates had written and share in a dialog on the issues driving the project.  Each step engaged students from across the spectrum of artistic ability and scholastic aptitude. The Seniors wanted to let their classmates know that they are not alone and through this project they were able to bring a school community together in a way that won’t soon be forgotten.  The experience is something they will all hold onto and the mural itself will stand with their messages to future students -  letting them know that when all seems dark, there is still light. 

 

The Mt. Horeb Mental Wellness mural will be unveiled at a dedication ceremony in the school on May 8th 2018 at 3:30. 

Press: http://www.nbc15.com/content/news/Mt-Horeb-students-create-art--awareness-with-mental-wellness-mural-478937493.html

https://madisoncommons.org/2018/04/23/new-mount-horeb-high-school-mural-supports-mental-wellness/

 

 

 

 

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Brushes

At Dane Arts Mural Arts artists work with at risk youth, communities and schools to beautify our neighborhoods.  The work of creating a mural takes a combination of human effort and the proper tools to do the job.  Sometimes we take our tools for granted.  After years of use in the hands of both artists and the newly initiated the brushes we use become too hard or too bristly, too wild to paint a straight line.  We trim the bristles, soak the brushes, and bring in our tools from home to get the job done.  Our priorities lie in interacting with the community, we can make do with an old tool that’s been given a trim.  But, oh the joy of a new brush!

We would like to thank Artist and Craftsman Supply in Madison, WI for the generous donation of a bucketful of beautiful new brushes.  These tools will help give students and community painters confidence in their brushstrokes; they will help to keep our lines straight and our washes true.  Sometimes the little things, like a clean soft brush, can remind us of how beautiful this work can be. 

Thank you Jason and Artist and Craftsman Supply!  Your brushes will be put to good use. 

-Amy Zaremba, DAMA artist.

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Protecting the Work

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Protecting the Work

Some of you may have heard about the early October tagging incident on the “Water, Land, and Sky” mural on South Broadway in Monona. If you weren’t aware it may be because the defacement was merely a temporary act - it appeared early on a Monday morning and by evening it was gone. The artists, students and community members who supported, painted and loved this mural planned ahead to assure that, to the best of our ability, it would be protected from vandalism.

            Thanks to the help of the amazingly knowledgeable staff at Hallman Lindsay Paints, DAMA had the right product to put to the test.  Before we began installing spring murals we met with John Devries at Hallman Lindsay’s Sun Prairie headquarters to learn about anti-graffiti product options and to get a hands-on tutorial of proper application and removal of various types of graffiti. We took this knowledge to the shop and tested the products on different types of painted surfaces with various qualities of spray paint.

            We had two high quality products to choose from to protect our community murals. The first is a permanent layer that allows for most of the graffiti to be washed off of the surface without damaging the painted wall. The second, Okon Graffiti Barrier Coat, is a sacrificial layer that comes off with the graffiti.  This layer needs to be reapplied after each removal but when removed the original work was restored beautifully. 

            With research complete, DAMA artists applied two coats of this sacrificial anti-graffiti product to all 120 feet of the Monona mural. The product went on not long before “Water, Land, and Sky” was defaced along with area homes and businesses by what police believe was the work of gang members. The community came together once again and worked to restore the beauty of a mural that has come to mean a lot to many people.  Members of the Whitehorse family worked alongside lead artist Alicia Rheal, Hallman Lindsay west manager Nancy Stilwell, county workers and neighbors to remove the hurtful scrawl from a mural designed to honor the cultural heritage and history of Monona. 

            We wish that vandalism like this did not happen and as an organization DAMA strives to give troubled kids a paintbrush and a project in hopes of making a positive impact on young lives.  Our hopes are high that the work will be respected, but, when creating accessible outdoor murals like the one in Monona we need to be prepared for any eventuality.  We are grateful to Hallman Lindsay Paints for donating paint for our projects, sharing their time and knowledge and helping us to be prepared for the worst case scenario. 

- Amy Zaremba

DAMA artist

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Dane Arts Mural Arts Is EVERYWHERE!!!

Our artists have been busy. This spring DAMA is finishing – and dedicating – 7 murals and one exhibit throughout Dane County!

On Tuesday April 18 we dedicated a lovely mural on the 11th floor of the YWCA’s community room on the capitol square.  The community room serves many functions – including the site for child care for residents of the YWCA’s housing programs.

Then 3 days later on Friday April 21 we dedicated a fun & exciting mural at the City County Building. This mural is a partnership with the Madison Children’s Museum – and their “Take the Stairs” “Stair Trek” program to get Madisonians to live healthier lives & consider “taking the stairs.” The mural is in 2 stair wells at the rear of the building – by the police station entrance & is a compilation of drawings done by children at the museum depicting their favorite places & things to do in Dane County – the “Hidden Treasures” of Dane County.

On Thursday May 4 DAMA is tremendously excited to celebrate an exhibit of self-portraits done by alternative high school students with whom DAMA has worked – making murals – at Madison West High School’s SAIL program and at Sun Prairie’s Prairie Phoenix Academy.

Later in the month on Wednesday May 31 we will be dedicating a wonderful outdoor mural at Randall Elementary School on Madison’s near west side – painted with all Randall Students – and with SAIL West alternative high school students. And on Tuesday June 6 we will be dedicating a mural at Atlas Drive Play Haven – on Madison’s far east side – painted with alternative students from La Follette High School in Madison.

Coming up after that we will be dedicating large outdoor murals in Monona & Waunakee – and also one painted with Madison East SAIL students that will be installed on the side of the Kipp Corporation. 

All this – and we have moved!

Dane County is generously leasing us a fabulous mural production building in the old Town of Blooming Grove Fire Station on Stoughton Road – and we could not be more excited. We promise to keep you posted – and to invite you to a grand opening of our new space later in the summer.

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YWCA Mural

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YWCA Mural

DAMA lead artists shared a community meal with YWCA residents to hear about their ideas for the space in which they have meals, have meetings and where their children play. The artists then took the input from YWCA residents and staff members and turned the community room / child care area into a “wonder world” of positive fun images. Students from Madison West High School SAIL ( Student Achievement through Individualized Learning) program worked alongside DAMA community artists and volunteers to transform this interior space that will provide many years of enjoyment for the YWCA residents.

-Sharon Kilfoy, DAMA director

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Mural at Randall Elementary School, Madison.

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Mural at Randall Elementary School, Madison.

DAMA had our biggest turnout ever for a public painting day with the awesome Regent Street neighborhood public painting day at Randall Elementary School. More than 100 students, family members and other volunteers worked alongside DAMA community artists to create a vibrant exterior mural that tells the story of kindness within the Randall community.

- Sharon Kilfoy, DAMA director

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Summer Institute 2016 with DAMA students

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Summer Institute 2016 with DAMA students

 

Emi Bender was one of the Summer Institute students this Summer. Here is what she had to say about her experience.

"My session volunteering with Dane Arts Mural Arts was an incredibly positive experience. Especially as an aspiring artist, it was wonderful to have the opportunity to work with professionals on art pieces and be able to contribute to the Madison community. I was exposed to almost every stage of the process of creating a mural, from
the first scale drawings to signing the piece at the end. I was also given the opportunity to apply my own hand in painting and drawing.

Although I couldn’t stay for the full program, I worked on murals in two different mediums: waterbased exterior paint and interior collage. The two projects were also on dramatically different scales, with the exterior mural being over four times the size of the interior mural. While working on the exterior project, Neighborhood House, I learned about and applied working with proportion when transferring images from a small photo or
drawing to a large wall, how images are perceived from a distance versus up close, and how to work on a textured wall. The second project, a landscape collage for the Madison Literacy Network, gave me experience in color washes, priming panels, color matching, and how to create the illusion of light and depth in landscapes.

The last thing I completed was a lifesize painting of a flamingo for the Fitchburg bike path, which allowed me to practice painting from reference images and mixing colors for highlights and shadows. I would recommend the DAMA summer volunteer program to any high school student, but especially aspiring artists. There is no substitute for working alongside professionals and witnessing the entire process, and I’m so glad I found DAMA and got to participate."

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DAMA dedicated 3 new murals in 3 months!

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DAMA dedicated 3 new murals in 3 months!

DAMA artists have been hard at work in three Dane County communities:

  • On April 26 community members celebrated with DAMA lead artist Emida Roller who worked with alternative high school students from the SAIL East program and with Lindbergh Elementary School students to create a magnificent exterior mural at Lindbergh School on Madison's far north side.
  • On Thursday May 26 join DAMA at noon in Sun Prairie to celebrate lead artist Alicia Rheal's work with Prairie Phoenix Academy alternative high school students in creating murals on four sides of the concession stand at Angell Park.
  • On Thursday June 2 join DAMA at 10am in Middleton to celebrate lead artist Emida Roller's work with Clark Street Community School alternative high school students and Sauk Trails Elementary School students in the creation of a mixed media mural at Sauk Trails School.

- Sharon Kilfoy - Director, DAMA

Mural at Charles Lindbergh Elementary School, Madison

Mural at the concession stand, Sun Prairie Firemen's Angell Park, Sun Prairie

Mural at the concession stand, Sun Prairie Firemen's Angell Park, Sun Prairie

Mural at Sauk Trail Elementary School, Middleton

Mural at Sauk Trail Elementary School, Middleton

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Thank you for your support in 2015!

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Thank you for your support in 2015!

Greetings!

It has been a little over a year now since Dane Arts agreed to take me on as a partner in creating a county-wide mural program - and what a year it has been!

Our goals in establishing DAMA are:

·         To train as many artists as possible to be community artists

·         To beautify as many communities as possible through high-quality public art

·         To positively affect as many lives as possible, especially youth.

During 2015 we created:

·         Two interior murals at the Boys & Girls Club - 2001 Taft St, Madison  

·         Interior mural at Sherman Middle School – 1610 Ruskin St, Madison

·         Exterior painted mural & mosaic mural at Zion City  - 1317Applegate Rd, Madison

·         Exterior garden shed mural at Centro Hispano - 810 W Badger Rd, Madison

·         Exterior painted mural, mosaic mural & pavement painting at the Social Justice Center - 1202 Willy St

·         Exterior mural at Angell Park - 1717 N Bristol Av, Sun Prairie

·         Exterior mural at the Hoyt building  - 3802 Regent St, Madison

We worked with tons of young people, lots of volunteers and many community partners. During 2016, we will work to build the infrastructure that will enable DAMA to become a viable program happily housed within county government for many years to come.

We are eternally grateful for all the support we have received – financial and otherwise. Without you- sharing this vision with us - none of this transformative work could happen.

Thank you!

Sharon Kilfoy

P.S. Please sign up for our newsletter!

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Hoyt Building Mural with SAIL West High School

Dane Arts Mural Arts and SAIL West High School students create art together.

In the spring of 2015, DAMA began working with SAIL West students to create a mural for the front of the Hoyt School building, where the SAIL program takes place. DAMA lead artists, Emida Roller and Alicia Rheal, worked with the students in both designing and painting the mural. The material they worked on is called "parachute cloth" and when finished, would be glued to exterior panels, and installed on the front of the Hoyt building.

During the painting process, it became clear to the artists that several of the students were intimidated and scared of working on the mural. "I don't want to ruin it;" "I'm not a good enough painter”; "I can't draw;” were all common statements. What the artists then started was an alternative "no rules, no wrong way to paint" table, in the same room as the progressing mural.

The "no rules" paint table was a HUGE hit. Students who had been afraid to pick up a brush now started playing with paint, combining color and texture, using different types and sizes of brushes, and trying different techniques. There was absolutely no failure - just fun and experimentation!

Students created yards and yards of beautiful, vibrant, playfully painted "parachute cloth." Along the way we discovered that this fabric lends itself perfectly to collage. The students were encouraged to cut out and piece together new images, mounting them onto scrap plywood or spare mat board. The completed art pieces are colorful, delightful, and chock full of energy - just like the students who created them! We hope you enjoy these pieces as much as we have enjoyed making them.

Dane Arts Mural Arts (DAMA) is a county wide program that is part of Dane Arts. Our purpose is to engage youth and community members in the mural arts process – providing opportunities to experience success through organized, hands-on, hard work.

SAIL West (Student Achievement through Individualized Learning) is a West High alternative program, whose mission is to expand the instructional opportunities for students who benefit from a non-traditional academic setting.

- Alicia Rheal, DAMA lead artist

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Sharon Kilfoy leads Madison Mural Tour

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Sharon Kilfoy leads Madison Mural Tour

On September 21, 2015 DAMA director Sharon Kilfoy joined Edgewood College Professor of Art History Melanie Herzog, Edgewood students, DAMA lead artist Emida Roller, and visiting artists from China and Egypt for a tour of Madison murals.

Traversing Madison's south and east sides, Kilfoy's voyage examined murals at Omega School, Centro Hispano, the Madison Labor Temple, the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center, and the Social Justice Center with brief looks at Georgia O'Keefe Middle School, Mother Fool's Coffeehouse, and Plan B. 

Discussing both painting techniques and community messages, Kilfoy explored Madison's rich history of murals and the people and ideas behind the city's striking visual displays.

A prominent figure in the Willy Street neighborhood's history of art and activism, Kilfoy spoke passionately about the series of artworks at the Social Justice Center located at 1202 Williamson St. 

On its wall facing Few St., the Social Justice Center presents a mural showcasing past neighborhood figures that shaped Willy Street's creative and socially-engaged community. Some of the people and institutions represented  are Nature's Bakery, WORT (89.9 FM), and artists and songwriters Peter and Lou Berryman.

The newest addition to the Social Justice center will cover the building's back wall. Its painting was prompted by the death of Willy Street resident Tony Robinson and will depict the lives of of Robinson and other young people from the neighborhood who lost their lives to violence.

"The mural itself will be a peaceful celebration of lives," explains Kilfoy. "This mural, I feel, is one of the most important I've been associated with."

The new Social Justice Center mural will be painted Friday, September 25 through Sunday, September 27. People are encouraged to stop by and help!

 

 

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