Gabrielle Abbott
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THE BRAVE SIREN

Join me here for musing on my creative process, latest art news, tutorials and other magic. The Brave Siren is anyone who commits to creativity and blows the whistle on injustice. The Brave Siren loves fiercely and radically. Art, spirituality and social justice are ONE. 

 

New Horizons Mural

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For the past month, I’ve been working on a very special project with my mural painting students at Antioch University. We partnered with New Horizons ministry to paint a mural in their drop-in center, which provides services to homeless and at-risk youth in the Seattle area. It was an incredible honor to work with New Horizons, meet their community and see their beautiful work they are doing in our city. This was one of those projects that I was sad to see finish.

The whole process was designed to teach my students not just to paint murals, but also how to facilitate successful public art collaborations. We co-created with the NH community from start to finish. In our initial consultation, we learned that the center wanted to create a wall honoring inspirational Seattlites, focusing on people of color and women. The seven individuals depicted were chosen for their lasting contributions to the social justice and artistic soul of Seattle.

By placing the mural next to the buffet, we imagined that every mealtime we give offerings to leaders who have passed, and thank them for their wisdom. The cafeteria offers free breakfasts and dinners are served to homeless youth nearly every day of the week.

My favorite part of the project was interacting with the young people I met at the center. Most have experienced trauma and hardship far worse than anyone should ever know. Yet they are resilient flowers, choosing to persistently spread their light and love despite it all. I also have mad respect for the patience and generosity of all the staff I met at New Horizons. If you are looking for an organization to volunteer in Seattle, I give them my full support.

I grew so close to my students during the process, and I’m so impressed by the way they HAULED ASS to get the painting done on schedule. If you’re reading this, Max Burke, Yana Dareva-Morison, Kim Hardman, Brie Kuhn, Mel Plant, Miranda Wolf, Denise Thetford and Kendra Young-Arrowood, thanks for the hard work! I loved getting to know all of you better on this project. I’m so pleased with how this wall turned out, and it was truly a community effort. Thanks to everyone who made this happen.

To view more photos and descriptions of the individuals honored in the artwork, visit the project page here.