Written by Suzanne Sable
We call it the OG cell. You may know it as the tin can telephone.
Regardless of what we call this particularly nostalgic form of communication, it is the subject of the latest Beautify Education mural at Mayberry Street Elementary School by artist Marcel “Sel” Blanco. Sponsored by TextMarks, a mobile technology company with an SMS cloud-based platform, the mural aligns well with the school’s focus on communications arts and programs as well as the the company’s desire to give back to the Los Angeles community.
“It should serve as a reminder that learning happens through connection to each other and to the world around us,” said Dan Kamins, CEO of TextMarks. “ The mural will inspire the student and administrators to make these connections and engage through technology, art, and play.”
Contributing to the project as an organizational partner was Barnsdall Arts, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing quality art programs to educate and enrich the community through celebration of the arts. Barnsdall, the visual arts partner for Mayberry, was critical to identifying the school and having a deep understanding of its focus on communications arts and student demographic, which includes a significant special ed population.
“We wanted to work with the children to create a mural that they can see daily and be proud that they were part of a special thing,” said Quan Trang, Barnsdall Program Director.
After holding an art competition, Mayberry selected a few students to assist Sel in the mural painting process. Further, to make the project more inclusive, Sel and Trang met with the students to share design ideas, which Sel then translated into the students painting scenes from LA for the mural’s background while he painted the primary imagery.
When asked “did you ever dream this would be your life?” Sel responded, “No, never thought painting with kids was on my life path. Seeing their faces light up when they paint was pretty cool.”
And putting all the pieces together was Beautify Earth Project Manager, Milène Tilghman, who identified TextMarks as the right sponsor for the mural and Beautify Education founder, Sergio Cuculiza.
Beautify Earth is proud to facilitate mural projects like the one at Mayberry Street Elementary School and we would love to paint even more murals at schools and places of learning in communities like yours. More specifically, our Beautify Education program empowers youth to recognize their creativity and how it can used constructively in their lives and communities.