Oct 27, 2011

Community Paint Day: Finding the Light Within

by: Mary Kate O’Keefe

Mural Arts’ studio space at The Gallery at Market East was buzzing with productive energy on Saturday, October 15 as paint day participants gathered to help paint a new mural entitled Finding the Light Within.

Community members of all ages stood around tables, wearing plastic smocks, to add their own artistic touches to sheets of parachute cloth, which were meticulously mapped out in paint-by-numbers-style by artist James Burns. The painted squares, when completed, will be adhered on the wall in a grid at the mural site: 120 South 30th Street in West Philadelphia.

Burns’ latest mural project, Finding the Light Within, is about the tragic social phenomenon of youth suicide. Philadelphia’s suicide attempt rate among public high school students is 12.9 percent and nearly twice the national average, which is why Mural Arts is uniting Burns with poet and artist Theodore Harris and psychologist Terri Erbacher to facilitate a joint effort to shed light on the critical issue.

A multidimensional project, Finding the Light Within is more than paint on parachute cloth. A series of community meetings and workshops engaged a broad range of participants, and their personal stories about how their lives have been changed by suicide have informed Burns’ creative design.

Using the power of art to increase awareness and spark conversations about suicide warning signs and prevention, the mural project seeks to create a diverse community of survivors, attempters, and their families and friends that can continue to share resources and support long after summer 2012 when the mural is projected to be finished.

Come back and visit the Wall Watch Blog for an exclusive interview with the artist about this important project.

To learn more: https://muralarts.org/findingthelight

Last updated: Jan 27, 2016

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