In collaboration with FIU’s Education Effect partnership, students at Miami Northwestern (MNW) Senior High School recently celebrated the opening of the school’s first student art gallery and the unveiling of a mural, transforming a barren hallway into a vibrant “artway.”
Maria Lovett, director of The Education Effect at MNW, said dozens of students in the art magnet program studied art history, African American history and design to create the mural, which features original artwork inspired by historic figures and events.
“The Education Effect is proud to be a part of such artful collaborations that continue to advance our mission of seeing every child graduate from high school prepared to achieve their dreams,’’ Lovett said.
“In education, we often talk about the ‘hidden curriculum’ – the unintended lessons or messages students learn in school,” Lovett added. “The hallway leading to the art room felt dreary and oppressive – far from inspiring. And we know an inspiring, welcoming environment is essential to successful learning – be it in literacy, math, science or the arts.”
The mural project was led by artist and muralist Edward Rawson of the Moving the Lives of Kids Community Mural Project, a non-profit that has conducted similar mural projects with more than 5,000 children and thousands of volunteer artists throughout the United States, Haiti and Brazil.
The unveiling of the student “artway” coincided with the opening of the Bulls Eye Art Gallery at the MNW Performing and Visual Arts Center. Designed in collaboration with renowned artists Eleazar Delgado and Joshua Kingston, the gallery is a state-of-the-art exhibition and work space for student artists.
The gallery was built by Mahoney Construction and funded by The Sain Orr Royak DeForest Steadman Foundation. MNW welding instructor Dustin Welch and his students created the eye-catching reception area at the entrance to the gallery.
Rawson, chief operations officer for MLK Murals, said the mural not only gives the kids an opportunity to be a part of the living history of their school, but creates a space for self-expression and “gives them a sense of ownership and pride in their school.”
“We are creating a paradigm shift in the way students view education,” he said. “Most schools in America have grey walls and fluorescent lights and every room looks the same from math to science and English. When you shatter that, break the monotony and make it colorful, stimulating and full of rich history, learning becomes something you look forward to. Miami Northwestern is proving that.”
Lovett described the mural project as an example of service learning – where students apply what they learn in the classroom to a service project.
“Miami Northwestern students and MLK Murals worked together to literally transform a dismal hallway into a work of art.’’
– Alexandra Rodriguez-Carhartt