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

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