The after school program at the Armed Services YMCA in Hampton Roads hosted local artist Karen Ludwig as mural maker and collaborator for a community mural project. From start to finish the process took approximately 40 hours. This included a brainstorming session, team image making session, and the execution of the mural itself.
During the brainstorming session, children were asked to talk about: the activities they most enjoyed doing while at the ASYMCA , what core values the ASYMCA encourages in them, and how they demonstrate these values at home and in the community. It was a lively discussion!
Imagery such as: block building, reading together, working on the computer, visits from the Norfolk Zoo, and riding the bus, were favorite activities of the children. Picking up litter, recycling at home and in the community, being kind to others, truthful, sharing, and being respectful to other were examples of the values reinforced at the ASYMCA.
Following the brainstorming sessions, children worked in groups to create collaborative art using large paper, watercolors and markers. Children’s depiction of the earth, picking up litter, caring for the environment, and acts of kindness to family and friends, were common threads throughout their art work. Groups were then asked to share their finished artwork, and to describe their process. Respecting the thoughts and the work of others resonated with all involved, as did the ability to articulated individual ideas and group ideas.
Following the completion of phase one and two, using the children’s ideas, the artist created a watercolor sketch for approval. Once approved, the artist executed a chalk drawing freehand on the mural wall. Feedback was received and changes were made based on the feedback. The final painting commenced. The final artwork was completed by the children. Children were tasked with adding insects and flowers to the mural. Many children participated, and signed their name at the bottom. They were extremely proud and joyful to be part of the process, as was I.
Important to the Artist
Overreaching is the idea that no matter where the children go in life, they will always carry with them what they’ve learned and experienced at the ASYMCA. With that, they are encouraged to think of themselves as empowered people, capable of changing the world. Their parents are fine examples of what it looks like to make a difference in the world, as they sacrifice and serve our country. Therefore, the moving buses traveling around the world and back to the ASYMCA, the branches of the military with arms intertwined, keeping the world safe, while overlooking the children at the ASYMCA, and the children engaged in various acts of responsible social behaviors, all speak to the concept of the Armed Services YMCA motto: Strengthening Our Military Family, and thus our global community.
Much thanks to Laura Baxter, Executive Director, Katrina Williams-Cherry, and team for helping execute each phase of the process.