It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but for City of Norcross community members the new “picture” that will soon transform the retaining wall on Mitchell Road will be worth much more. In what began as a spark of creativity for local artist and Norcross Elementary Teacher Bobbie Adamczyk, has started a movement that goes far beyond art and cultural awareness.
With an expected completion date of March 2018, the community-led project will turn the brown wall into a canvas that celebrates community and nature and will be a public art piece intended to cultivate community awareness, strengthen relationships and develop civic pride. Additional goals were to add beauty to a bland wall and to discourage graffiti. As the sandblasting of the wall was completed this past weekend, the wall is now primed and ready for the transformation to begin.
“Although the lessons in art are important, the mural project represents a great deal more for the Norcross community,” commented Adamczyk. “This project has offered a segment of the community to feel grounded, brought parents into the classroom and provided a connection point for students and the community.”
As stated by the Chicago Public Art Group, “Community-generated public art builds social capital, the sense of connectedness among members of a community. Public art projects can transform bland public spaces into visually exciting places that encourage civic dialogue. Collaborative public art projects create opportunities for intergenerational work and communication, for youths to contribute positively to their local environment, and for individuals to use their creative talents for the public good.”
Led by Norcross teachers, students and volunteers, young artists from kindergarten – 12th grades are working together to create a mural approximately 60 feet in length, comprised of five panels depicting nature’s seasonal colors, wildlife and plants in colorful mosaics and painted images.
The community-oriented project is made possible by the hard work of many dedicated volunteers along with fundraising efforts. Donations such as the sandblasting provided by Precision 2000, are instrumental to the project’s success. To assist in the fundraising efforts, a Go Fund Me page was created to cover the cost of materials and supplies along with a finishing application to make the mural easy to clean should a “graffiti artist” tag the wall.
“This project has been about meeting people where they are—in schools and in the community,” commented Adamczyk. “It has allowed us to meet the needs of the community while pulling education from art and that is good thing for everyone.”
From now until its completion, those passing by the Mitchell Wall Project will notice a banner on the retaining wall that includes a picture of a Norcross Elementary sports team who have helped raise funds for the mural by going door-to-door in the Norcross community. For those that live in the local community, don’t be surprised if they come knocking again! Upon completion of the mural, a block party is being planned in the neighborhood near the mural where students and the community can celebrate their hard work.
For more information, visit the ‘Mitchell Wall Project’ Facebook page and stay tuned for more details as the project progresses!