Collaborative Murals

We Must Care for the Earth”

“We want to thank you again for the incredible job you did working with our students.  That you took the time to differentiate your art instruction so that all of our students could learn and participate making the mural speaks to the high quality of your art instruction and your dedication to our students.” Steve Maldanado, Grant Grover School, Marin County, California

Reach for the Stars

Students from Edison Charter Elementary School in San Francisco worked with Ross Holzman of Create Peace Project and UTC to change their main entrance into an inspiring, peaceful and playful space.

Department of the Interior “Consensus Building” Through Art

A 40-foot by 8-foot mural, acrylic painted on wood panels, 2003. Part of the University of the Department of Interior’s “Art, Collaboration and Conservation” Series, conceived of by Lynn Scarlett, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Interior.

Consensus  Building

In June of 2003, 40 Department of the Interior employees from five bureaus painted this mural as a leadership training exercise, led by Laurie Marshall. Using the concept of the four directions of the Medicine Wheel from Native American tradition as described by Hyemyohsts Storm in Seven Arrows, Marshall gave each of the five teams an 8′ x 8′ space with four circles drawn on it. The teams discussed the wisdom, knowledge, mission and challenges of their bureau and out of that conversation, invented visual ways to express their perceptions. They employed communication, risk-taking and problem-solving skills to create new solutions. The project served as a type of indoor Challenge Ropes Course, where paints and colored pencils are the fools for accomplishing the team-building exercises.
Following the leadership training exercise, the mural was exhibited at the U.S. Department of Interior Museum in Washington, D.C. from August through October, 2003, in Los Angeles during November for the Federal Stewardship/Partnership conference and at the U.S. Geological Survey in Reston, Virginia in 2004. The mural’s creation and display highlights the importance of including diverse voices in the Department’s decision-making process.

Consensus Building

Mineral and Land Management

Consensus   BuildingWater and Science
Consensus   BuildingFish, Wildlife & Parks Consensus   BuildingBureau of Indian Affairs
Each leaf represents one of the 542 federally registered tribes.
Consensus BuildingPublic Policy and Management

Photos courtesy of Bob Burgess

Paintings by the Target, Pact and Gate Programs of Auberle Foster Home, Pittsburgh, PA

“Anyone who does anything to help a child in this life is a hero to me.” ~ Fred Rogers.

When asked what they needed while they were in the courtroom, the young people of Auberle said “Protection and Freedom.” The large birds and strong adults are protecting the child. In Cherokee tradition, a man with a bird on his shoulder is exceptionally wise. The hummingbirds and butterflies symbolize freedom and joy. Mr. Roger’s words serve as a reminder of the importance of children and the heroism of any adult who puts their needs first.

Anyone Who  Does  Anything for a ChildOn permanent display at the McKeesport, PA Family Court room.
(8′ x 4′, acrylic and colored pencil on paper glued to wood)

“The Fight for Hope”

The mountains are steep, because the journey is hard. Inside the circles are feelings that the young people of Auberle experienced waiting to go into court: The tears overflow in sadness. There is a volcano of anger. The lightning strikes – no one is there and you are all alone. The self is gone, like a shattered mirror and you are lost. Without denying them, the arrow travels through these feelings and points to hope. The birds and flowers are symbols of warmth, liveliness and Nature, which is bigger than the human drama. The young man holds the flowers while another child offers a quiet, colorful landscape for his heart. This is the wish for a peaceful heart.

The Fight  for  HopeOn permanent display at the McKeesport, PA
Family Court waiting room.

(8′ x 4′, acrylic and colored pencil on paper glued to wood)

“There is Always Hope”

The road is paved with gold, holding an intact family that is surrounded by a Nature-dominated city of Pittsburgh. The animals embrace the humans, and, above all, there is a Goodwill truck parked by the golden road. A young man watches.

There is  Always  HopeOn permanent display in a Family Court in Pittsburgh, PA.
(8′ x 4′, acrylic and colored pencil on paper glued to wood)

“Building Strong Families”

This painting grew out of stories by the staff of being at the right place at the right time for the children at Auberle. After sharing these powerful stories, each person created a picture in his or her hand based on the positive difference they had made in the life of a child. Together, the staff made a work of art to re-envision and re-energize their mission.

Building  Strong Families

ACB Series: Three Steps in Conflict Resolution


A great way to strengthen a peer mediation program.  Invite all your students to create  three 8′ x 8′ portables murals The content of the murals are three simple steps in Conflict Resolution developed by Dr. Martha Harty of Carnegie Mellon University: Air the Viewpoints, Clarify the Needs, Brainstorm Solutions. The students will draw upon their experience with conflict to generate images for each mural gaining skills in research, drawing, design, painting, rendering three-dimensional images in paint and teamwork. They had the opportunity to transform difficult experiences (which most conflicts are) into powerful visual statements and gain compassion for their classmates. The structure is available to be painted by your students.  These murals were painted by 480 8th-12th Rappahannock County High School students.

The murals served as inspiration for the creation of an original play by RCHS English students called “Rumble in the Mountain – A Geological Fable of Conflict and Resolution” (put link). The image for “Brainstorming Solutions” was a ying-yang symbol which grew out of a senior’s statement “Out of earthquakes, mountains are born”, which inspired the geological analogy The murals and plays were featured in “Teaching Tolerance Magazine”, which resulted in 8 students traveling to Los Angels to see Mira Loma High Schools version of Rumble in the Mountain. They also assisted in conflict resolution training. The murals were exhibited at the United Nations and the U.S. Senate.

The play script, a DVD of the original play and directions for the murals are available here.

A long term goal is to create murals with teens throughout the United States and in other parts of the world, each with the same basic structural format and unique content. The murals would be exhibited together.

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