Paris Friends/community mural

Submitted by Tony Ortega

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Client: Paris Elementary school

Location: Aurora, CO, United States

Completion date: 2015

Artwork budget: $4,500

Project Team

Artist

Tony Ortega

Paris Elementary school

Client

Roberta Mantioni

Paris Elementary School

Overview

The Paris elementary community mural making process included the following areas:
I. Design and Layout of the mural 6' x 12' (Theme picked by teachers and students)
A. Discussion with school about location, size and subject of the mural
B. Requirements of time, resources and materials
C. Sketches of proposed mural
D. Preparing surface of mural (gesso)
E. Layout of final mural as a cartoon or on surface

II. Contact time with student
A. Teaching/demos and guiding student in the painting process
B. Working with groups of 4 to 5 students in timed rotations
C. Painting process includes the following
1. Under painting
2. Dry brush
3. Pointillism and pattern painting
4. Outlining and final touch up
5. Varnish application

Goals

Community murals are not created for “art’s sake”, but rather give a community the skills necessary to maintain this art form. The mural process encourages participants of different ages and socioeconomic backgrounds to collaborate, develop friendships, and learn from each other while developing their art skills. The creation of many of the murals I have worked on has included groups of people highly diverse in terms of race, gender, age, and level of artistic competency.
I believe that the people involved in the painting process feel an ownership to the mural and are proud of their work. Kids enjoy bringing their parents to show them what they've painted. Murals can espouse political views, family values, cultural pride, or historic events. The mural reflects the needs, hopes and dreams of the community who creates them. They are part of a community arts movement which emerges as an alternative art education program by ordinary people as they reach out to their community.

Process

My experiences as a community artist have resulted in many meaningful relationships with compassion and respect. My commitment to the community and the improvement of social institutions demonstrates a dedication to lifelong learning. In order to achieve this perspective in my artwork, I am actively involved in the community in a wide range of activities and with a great variety of organizations and people. For the past 25 years, I have work with schools, community organizations, art space and museums in the creation of community murals to further develop my philosophical belief that art belongs to everyone, not just the wealthy, art galleries and museums. For the community mural project at Paris elementary school I worked with Think 360 Arts an art organization here in the Denver area. At the school my contact person was the vice principal and two 5 grade teachers. For the theme and painting the mural I work with about 40 fifth grade students.