Youth in GAP gather with MMAP staff to celebrate the completion of the summer project.
The Graffiti Arts Project (GAP) Summer 2011 came to an end on Friday August 5th as the Mural Music and Arts Project and over one-hundred and seventy five community members gathered at East Palo Alto’s City Hall to view and celebrate the graffiti art completed by East Palo Alto youth this summer. During the eight-week program, thirty GAP participants studied principles of artistic design, practiced spray technique, and learned to use graffiti in positive, responsible ways. In addition to teaching youth to express themselves creatively, the GAP program also engaged youth to connect with their communities and cultural histories. In the program’s culminating project, the young artists completed three graffiti art pieces –“Discover”, “Evolve”, and Connect” — to showcase their new skills and knowledge. At the unveiling event, GAP participants came to the stage to explain the meaning of their artwork and to highlight how each piece incorporates colors and patterns from the Latino, Pacific Islander, and African American artistic traditions, respectively. These three pieces will be displayed for the community at the East Palo Alto Library.
"EVOLVE", one of three graffiti pieces that now is displayed in East Palo Alto's Public Library.
After the artists spoke, Chief Ronald L. Davis, East Palo Alto’s Chief of Police, delivered a powerful keynote address, congratulating GAP participants on their creative achievements and expressing his continued strong support for the program. The Mural Music and Arts Project and the Police Department have collaborated closely throughout GAP’s five-year history. The Department helps fund the program, ensuring that MMAP can continue to provide the opportunity to East Palo Alto youth each summer, and also allows youth to fulfill community service credit through GAP. In his speech, Chief Davis encouraged youth to continue making positive contributions to the community, and he emphasized the importance of the police and local youth supporting one another. The Mural Music and Arts project extends its deepest thanks to Chief Davis for speaking at this event and to the Department for its continued partnership in the Graffiti Arts Program.
"DISCOVER", inspiration for the youth to discover their full potential.
After the keynote, each GAP participant received a certificate of program completion and a shirt, designed by the youth themselves. The unveiling celebration ended with joyful dancing to the beat of live music by The Vintage Music Collective.
The MMAP staff was proud to congratulate each of the participants involved in the Graffiti Arts Program and glad to celebrate a summer full of learning, creativity, and community building. Thank you to all who came out to support our youth!
"CONNECT", the third and final graffiti piece created by the youth this summer, representative of the strong inter-cultural connections they made with one another and will continue to make.