Archive for the ‘Teen Mural Program’ Category


Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

We asked our Artist in Residence Scape Martinez to tell us about his experience this summer working with our talented Teen Mural Program (TMP) students to design and create a mural for East Palo Alto’s City Hall. Here’s what he had to say:

“HOPE” is defined as the feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. It can also be looked at as “the state which promotes the desire of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one’s life or in the world at large.”

So what does this have to do with murals? …EVERYTHING.

The theme of our mural completed by the Teen Mural Program (TMP) in Summer 2013 was the concept of “HOPE.” But what exactly is it?

While observing our kids, their thought process, and design ideas, I came to understand that HOPE is an aggressive thing, not a passive thing. It is a part of something bigger, and that something is leadership. It is an ingredient used to effect change, an active and aggressive social change.

We wrapped our minds around the concept of HOPE before we began painting. During our research into the mural, we addressed concepts such as “adversity”… I asked, where is the adversity in East Palo Alto? There needs to be a sense of “promise,” whether inward or outward, and whether realized or broken. The students needed to recognize that they have a voice, and that their voice is valid and necessary. Add a smidge of risk, and in the end we have an active HOPE that effects change and leaves East Palo Alto in a better place than when we found it.

Social change is fueled by HOPE. I think that the students of TMP are the HOPE of East Palo Alto. They definitely are the voice and hold the imagination of East Palo Alto in the palms of their hands. They take the risks and hold the promise and through them there is the active HOPE of East Palo Alto.

Below are images of the Creative Process, and I am a huge fan of the idea of “trusting the process.” That is where the real magic happens, when you are making the art! The final piece is on three canvas panels, each 36”x48”, with the word HOPE emblazoned across the top and the quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”

-Scape Martinez, Artist in Residence

A Family Affair

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

MMAP La Familia at Summer Community Celebration & Unveiling

On August 23rd, MMAP commemorated East Palo Alto’s thirtieth anniversary as well as celebrated the hard work of this summer’s Teen Mural Program (TMP). Over the summer, TMP students learned about Movements: The Flow of Ideas, People & Resources. Together, they explored past and present social movements and through their artwork came conversations about community, change, and hope. Below is the final mural conceptualized by Artist in Residence, Scape Martinez, and created by Teen Muralists.

Hope, East Palo Alto City Hall, 2415 University Ave, East Palo Alto, CA 94303

This mural draws on movements of social change for inspiration.  Large blue spheres dominate the piece signifying the three branches of government, and the block-like structures give a sense of rigidness to show society’s resistance to change. The design uses abstracted form, color, and space to depict the energy and tension inherent in social movements, aiming to ultimately spread a positive message: “HOPE.”

The culminating celebration was an event filled with love and the spirit of East Palo Alto’s thirty years and beyond was truly felt. It was only right that Poetess Kalamu Chache began the program with a beautiful invocation. Chief Ronald Davis and City Manager Magda Gonzalez spoke to East Palo Alto’s thirtieth anniversary and commemorated the work of over 120 youth in MMAP’s Graffiti Art Project’s (GAP) public art project celebrating the 30th anniversary.

From left to right: Kalamu Chache, Chief Ronald Davis, & City Manager Magda Gonzalez.

Writer and author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, Stanford University’s Executive Director of Institute for the Diversity in the Arts, Jeff Chang was the Keynote speaker. In addition, he was also one of TMP’s interviewees this summer. He spoke on the power of the youth movement and that force of art and culture has on changing society.

Jeff Chang delivered an inspiring keynote at this year’s EPA Summer Community Celebration and Mural Unveiling

Of course, the best part of the unveiling is the youth performances. This year TMP’s lyrical cohort was all female and they rocked it. Below is Kiki and Yvonne, both students at Eastside College Preparatory. It was Kiki’s first time in the lyrical cohort and her cadence and rhyme made it seem as if she was a veteran.

Yvonne and Kiana share their lyrics with the crowd at this year’s EPA Summer Community Celebration and Mural Unveiling

This summer in East Palo Alto was a family affair that truly spoke to the power of community and hope. The foundations were built and now the work begins. Cheers to all that was celebrated and accomplished this summer. Be sure to check out the Hope mural as well as the 30- year public art that is displayed at East Palo Alto’s City Hall.

View the entire 2013 Summer Booklet of Programs and Events: 2013 Summer Booklet

Summer on Smash

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

It’s safe to borrow the words from Nas that this summer was a “Summer on Smash.” MMAP served over 250 youth this year through the Teen Mural Program, Open Studios Program, EPAA Summer Bridge Program, Gateway to Science Program. The last two weeks were filled with hard work, dedication and celebration with our Teen Mural Program unveilings reaching a whole new level.

The East Palo Alto Teen Mural Program Unveiling and Community Celebration was on fire with the entire community out in support. TMP youth killed the performances, the new office was set to showcase our expansion, and an elated spirit filled the air.

TMP EPA Dance Cohort performance

TMP EPA Youth Performing

San Francisco Teen Mural Program reached a milestone this year, with MMAP’s first mural painted outside in the city of San Francisco. Students showcased their work and made their voices heard.

Jessie, Aquila, Adrian and Kian hyping the crowd

TMP SF group photo

MMAP would like to express gratitude to all that supported the Teen Mural Program this summer. We would not have been able to achieve all that we were able to without everyone’s belief in our vision and voice.

Voice in the Making!

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

This week at TMP SF has been a fruitful and challenging one and this Tuesday we officially began our expression phase with full force! With our theme Voice continually in mind, we started off this week by breaking up into three different cohorts: dance, lyricism, and visual. We have been challenging ourselves to find deep and meaningful connections between the research we conducted earlier in the summer and our goal of empowering our communities.

For the visual cohort, those connections shine through and can clearly be seen when walking past the Shih Yu-Lang Central YMCA. When visiting judges Judge Ed Chen and Judge Teri Jackson, all of us at TMP began to consider how the strength and persistence of our personal convictions could effect our community. While meeting both judges was a blast, it was also important for our students to see strong people of color in positions of power, who have also left lasting positive effects in their communities.

Visual artist and extrodinarly bright TMP student Yessenia Poco both personifies and perpetuates this idea in our SF mural. In it, Yessenia is depicted holding a gavel with the same authority and conviction as Judge Jackson and Judge Chen! It is a lovely idea that for years to come, younger students walking by the mural will feel inspired by a role model such as Yessenia!

TMP students working on the mural. Notice the depiction of Yessenia to the left, in judges robes!

The Visual cohort was not the only group making moves this week! The Dane cohort, led by seasoned by MMAP verteran Adrian Johnson, worked up a sweat this week learning new up-beat choreography! This week they learned the first half of the dance that is filled with fast-paced arm and leg movements, phenomenal footwork, and, of course, a high-energy playlist. Lyricism/Hip-Hop troupe is filled to the brim with lyrical masters. We have only gotten a taste of some verses and hooks but the rest of us are waiting anxiously to hear them spit fire and use their mastery to inspire and incite change.

It certainly is an exciting time to be in TMP!

The Dance cohort working up a sweat!

TMP Design Workshops Take on a Whole New Level

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

It’s grind time! After weeks of conducting primary and secondary source research, the youth were ready for the most important day of TMP – the design workshop! Even though both of our TMP cohorts conducted similar research, each student shared their visions that come from family histories and personal stories. They all made their voices heard as individuals and used the power of collective voice, speaking the truth through imagery.

TMP SF student James showcasing his idea

In East Palo Alto, the youth huddled for hours in the East Palo Alto Academy gymnasium until they narrowed their mural ideas from over 500 to 10 – talk about process of elimination! There were five initial cohorts made up of youth and staff that rotated between five stations:  Voice in the Media, Power in Collective Voice, Voice in Education, Voice in Technology, and Voice in Democracy. After hours of getting those mind-juices flowing, the youth produced over 700 sticky notes, which translates into over 700 different ideas!

TMP EPA Design workshop aftermath

Arturo Maldonado holding down the Power in Collective Voice station rotation at TMP EPA

TMP SF’s design workshop had a similar process, which took place at the Shih Yu-Lang Central YMCA. Check out how much swag they have after a long day of work!

TMP SF Swagger

SF TMP: Last Day of the Research Phase!

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

This Tuesday was an extremely eventful day here at TMP San Francisco! Since we are nearing the conclusion of our research phase, we thought we would end the first half of TMP with a bang. Students met and interviewed Judge Edward M. Chen, United States District Judge on the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, and visited the San Francisco headquarters of Twitter!

Judge Chen, after having overcome many obstacles, has been in office for over a decade and, as a result, had life experiences that truly fascinated both the students and staff. We were able to visit his courtroom and hear him discuss how the judicial system, contrary to popular belief, often works in ways that empowers and supports the expression of individual voice. Since becoming the first Chinese-American judge on the federal bench in Northern California, Judge Chen has been deeply committed to representing those whose voices may not have been heard throughout history. For example, Chen was heavily involved in the 1983 case of Fred Korematsu vs. the United States, which granted reparations for many Japanese-Americans as well as a formal apology from the US government for wrongly imprisoning thousands of families.

Judge Chen discussing voice and the judiciary system.

MMAP students and staff with Judge Chen in his courtroom

While that would have been a fine time to end our research on voice, we could not forget to visit a company that is known worldwide for the “voice tools” it provides. Visiting Twitter was one that we will never forget! In class, we have been continually discussing how technology and the Internet provide a forum for our voices to be heard and considered; Twitter does just that. With Twitter staff members, students discussed how individuals became spokespeople for social change, simply by tweeting. Nowadays, you do not have to be famous to make a difference; that is what voice is all about!

Student Trevor Kelly discussing voice with Twitter staff on their rooftop garden. #winning

The gang on the Twitter rooftop!

Tomorrow, San Francisco begins the expression phase. We are thrilled to see how these interviews and site visits have inspired our students!

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Speaking the Truth

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Hip hop is more than just music – it serves as a vehicle for social change that empowers and educates our youth. In our TMP East Palo Alto class on Monday, our TMP youth had the privilege of interviewing two prominent hip hop scholars and “OGs” (Original Geniuses): Jeff Chang, Executive Director at the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford, and H. Samy Alim, renowned Professor in the Social Sciences, Humanities and Interdisciplinary Policy Studies in Education.

Jeff Chang and H. Samy Alim

Professor Alim spoke on hip hop’s ability to create global connections and to provide a voice to institutionally silenced people and communities:

“. . . when Chang was talking about the riots of ‘92, and in his 2005 book [Can’t Stop Won’t Stop], you have a huge portion on Ice Cube’s raps, and the media didn’t realize that all of the stuff, the tension, and the negative and positive was already being talked about on the record. And that same year, Paris had some riots, same exact scenario. So you have people of color, largely from Africa, trying to make a life and be accepted into French society but being treated the same way we’re being treated here, and when people went ballistic on Paris, we went, ‘oh this hip hop is trying to tell us something.’ And hip hop has played that role. Marginalized young people have been speaking out through hip hop. And I think hip hop has . . . given us [people of color] an avenue to share that voice.”

Hip hop continues to break borders and connect communities with an understanding of similar struggles. From East Palo Alto to Oakland to Philadelphia to Syria and Senegal, youth are sharing their voice.

As the TMP students are in the midst of the research phase and interviewing key players like Chang and Alim, they are simultaneously processing what they are learning through artistic expression. Jeff Chang spoke the truth by stating:

“I believe that arts can produce social justice by creating new imagination for ways that society can be, and I believe that artists are the key to social change. And all of that I got through hip hop, ‘cause hip hop in a lot of ways changed my whole way of looking at the world.”

Through the process of reflection and sharing their ideas, the students are doing just what Chang speaks to: imagining a new societal paradigm that fits all people’s dreams and needs. The first vision comes with education . . . MY EDUCATION.


H. Samy Alim with TMP Students

More on TMP San Francisco!

Friday, July 6th, 2012

While we all enjoyed our Wednesday July 4th holiday, there was no stopping our TMP San Francisco group from coming the next day with some great holiday stories, and, more importantly, some fantastic ideas involving voice.

Sparked by the controversial documentary “American Blackout” directed by Ian Inaba, our SF students explored how democracy is meant to empower and give agency to American people. The documentary covered the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections; the ways in which the voice of the people may have been ignored by government officials and people of congress during these elections; and how outrage, collaboration, and knowledge of their rights are extremely powerful elements when getting their voices heard. Needless to say, the film created a long conversation between staff and students revolving around how our voices alone may be ignored, but by collaborating with others and using creative venues to speak our minds, we can overcome injustices we may face. During Tuesday’s share out, Student Kian Randall wrote the following in response to “American Blackout”:

Through the eyes
of us all
As our heart
begin to fall
their tryna tell
us lies
try to take away
our rights
So we have
to fight
let the rain
wash away
the pain
the bloodshed in
our tears
so that we can
no longer fear
take action
Express your passion
No more good bye’s
a more hi’s
Come together
So we can make
things better.”

Thursday was also a huge milestone for our SF group. Yesterday, we were able to break up into our respective cohorts (visual arts, dance, and hip hop) and begin brainstorming for images, dance moves, and lyrics discussing voice! Our share out at the end of our Thursday class was amazing. The hip hop cohort’s share out included many students who were completely new to rapping; however, students like Toni Zachary, TMP veteran Jessie Tapafua, and new TMP student Trevor Kelly, all stepped up to the plate and came up with some impressive bars for the share out.

(Click below for a video of the share out and the students’ lyrics)

“What’s Your Vision of Success?” Hip Hop Cohort, TMP 2012

There are some truly amazing things coming and we can not wait to see what is in store for next week!

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

This week at MMAP our summer 2012 San Francisco Teen Mural Program kicked off with a vibrant, colorful, and extraordinarily talented group of students from all over the SF metro area!

Hosted by the Shih Yu-Lang Central YMCA, TMP San Francisco is extremely proud and excited about the days ahead.  There are many opportunities for us to learn more about each other and our own personal styles of expression; from dance and drama to mural making and figure drawing, our students are exceptionally talented and are ready for the creativity the summer has in store!

One of our icebreaking activities was the “Island” activity that centered around how collaboration, willingness to lead, and voicing your thoughts are all important factors when being part of a larger community.

The students really stepped up to the challenge of creating social norms, electing leaders, and working together to create a sense of community on their remote island named “Island X”.

Older MMAP veterans, like Zuretti Carter were deeply engaged in the problem solving aspect of the activity and acted as a mediator for the group’s excellent survival strategies. Even some of our newer and younger students like Ricky Rodriguez brought amazing ideas to the activity that surely would have save the group if put into a real “stranded on an island” scenario were to occur. We were also fortunate enough to have Youth Leaders Jessie Tapafua, David McKneely, and Geoffery Simpson all there to help encourage students to speak up and let their voices be heard!

Zuretti Carter (left, standing) mediating our Island activity and students like Enrique Rodriguez (sitting in the red)

We are so proud of our students and we are looking forward to another sensational summer!

MMAP is a Family

Friday, August 5th, 2011

MMAP is proud to have begun its work in East Palo Alto in 2001. Since this time, community safety has been a central theme in the mission of our program’s work. With tireless collaboration between efforts from law enforcement, community organizations, political entities, and community members, EPA has drastically reduced its crime rate so much so that in 2010, it had its lowest murder rate in 20 years. Unfortunately, in recent weeks, violence has risen, breaking the heart of our community and affecting- directly & indirectly- the youth of EPA.

Last week, MMAP reached out to Alejandro Vilchez, a seasoned veteran at addressing violence in communities like EPA and equipping youth with alternate solutions to combatting violence in their own community, and invited him to the MMAP house to speak with our youth. Not only did “Mr. Homie” educate our TMA’s about the ills of violence to our bodies, our spirits and our communities, but he also empowered us with skills to “fight” this violence in our minds and out. The entire experience was beyond inspirational to both staff and students, and as a MMAP family, we thank Alejandro Vilchez for his time, energy, and his expertise to our cause. One love.

Alejandro Vilchez poses with our TMA's in front of the MMAP house