This week, Arts Every Day announced the two awardees for 2020’s Impact Fund, the only grant exclusively for Baltimore City Public Schools to create large scale arts projects with the intention of supporting large scale permanently installed projects that connect individual schools to local artists and their surrounding community. One of those awardees is City Neighbors Hamilton’s Community Mural Project. See the description below from visual art teacher Hannah Cohen.

Area of school to be painted and examples of artist LaToya Peoples’ work.

City Neighbors Hamilton is grounded in the belief that students, staff and the community are “Known, Loved and Inspired”. The mission of City Neighbors Hamilton is to provide an extraordinary public school education with high academic achievement for all students. Our ultimate goal for our school is that through project-based learning, arts integration, parental involvement, and community outreach, the students leave enlivened, with a deep awareness of themselves, their families and the outside community, and with the capacity to be good citizens.

We are fortunate to have an amazing school building that fosters these experiences for our students. However, the outside of our building doesn’t represent that. Our goal is to create a mural on the front of our building that showcases the true mission and vision behind City Neighbors Hamilton.

In collaboration with students in grades K-8, the visual arts teacher will work with students and an expert mural artist, LaToya Peoples, to design and implement this project. With a mural project, students will be asked to think deeply about their school and community and create something that will capture the true essence of CNH. This mural project will also help students connect with the school and develop a deeper connection to the school community. Our theme for the mural will be “What does it mean to be known, loved and inspired?”. All grades will explore this guiding question in order to develop imagery that will be used to design our mural.

One of our goals as a school this year is focused on informational reading and writing. Through informational writing, students in K-3 will work on articulating small moment stories in both written and drawn form connected with our theme. Fourth and fifth-grade students will examine the components of social studies that contribute to people feeling known, loved and inspired in a community. Students in middle school will explore utopias and dystopias historically and creatively to gain an understanding of how the creation and design of a society can contribute to its impact on the people living in it.

We are a parent-run collaborative school with each family completing a minimum of 40 family participation hours each year. This mural project would be a great way to engage families with their students as well as participate in the creation of this mural. At the end of the school year, we host “Gallery Night” where the entire school becomes a gallery showcasing learning that took place throughout the year in each class. Gallery Night would serve as the perfect opportunity to celebrate this meaningful addition to the front of our school with the larger community.
Hannah Cohen
Visual Art Teacher, City Neighbors Hamilton