This past Friday, August 1st, marked the date of the community celebration commemorating the 5 week mural program, ART@WORK – and it was a HIT! It was a sunny, beautiful day for everything that was planned by Jubilee Arts and BOPA. The event started at 1pm, with a bang. As friends and family members of the 80 youth hired through this program arrived, a Baltimore marching band, The Twilighter’s, came through the event accompanied by street performers on stilts, and all participants of the ART@WORK program, including the artist mentors.
As the event continued, Nora Howell of Jubilee Arts and Maggie Villegas of BOPA, thanked funders, the mentoring artists, and all participants that made the program and the community celebration possible. Afterwards each member of each group was called to the stage and received a certificate of achievement and a sketch book, gratefully donated by BLICK art supplies. As all of this was going on, the DJ and rollerskating performers prepared to go on stage and supply the live entertainment to the audience as they snacked on delicious barbecue favorites.
The friends, family, and community supporters who came had the choice of being entertained by incredibly talented rollerskating performers, dancing to the fantastic DJ who had perfect transitions from classic songs to songs that are currently on the radio, entertaining the kids with a craft corner, or, my personal favorite part of the event, the trolley bus that took tours all around Sandtown to all the different mural sites with members of each group explaining each mural in detail – from struggles or challenges that they may have faced throughout the process, to what inspired them, to the meaning behind each color, phrase, or design used within each mural. It got the community that much more in-tune with what the next generation sees, understands, and wants from their community.
The event came to a close around 4pm, and by the end, it was clear to see that everyone that attended and the youth themselves were proud of all they had accomplished in this short amount of time. They know that they made a difference in their community. The biggest accomplishment that came out of this program was not only the murals, but the hope that these murals inspire others to better their community any way that they know how.