Here are a couple of projects that we love and that inspire us.
The Legacy Project reminds us that we are MORE BEAUTIFUL TOGETHER. Throughout the project many people, organizations, and businesses have come together to make the Near East Side of Indianapolis a more beautiful community in which to live, work, and play, building a brighter future for the youth of today and tomorrow. This work commemorates the great accomplishments achieved by those involved in the Legacy Project with an emphasis on working together. The materials used represent various aspects of the Legacy Project. The importance of a strong foundation is represented by the use of the gymnasium floorboards, giving our community a firm foundation on which to build successful lives. Just as the NFL wrapped the project in support, we wrapped the floorboards in repurposed Super Bowl banners to symbolize the necessity of supportive community to promote positive growth. Students of the East Side represent the diversity of the community through their self-portraits which are affixed to the bottom panel. The words, “MORE BEAUTIFUL TOGETHER”, are cut from the vinyl banners to expose the painted floorboards and portraits, representing the idea that the Legacy Project has removed many of the barriers to a positive future, and helped to reveal the beauty beneath the surface. Dave and Holly Combs are members of the East Side community of Indianapolis, as they live, work, and play here with their two children, Seaira and Alden. Dave and Holly spread positive messages throughout the community with their project, Department of Public Words and teach the youth through Street Styles (www.streetstylesinfo.com). The dedication for this work will be held at the JH Boner Community Center on January 31st, 2013.
Holly and I met Matthew Hoffman, creator of the You Are Beautiful project, many years ago at a You Are Beautiful art show in Chicago. Since that time we’ve worked together on various projects showing his work at ALIAS Gallery, and in PEEL Magazine, Surface Area Zine, and collaborated on You Are Beautiful installations. Getting to know Matthew has been one of the greatest joys of doing what we do. He’s one of the most interesting and creative individuals Holly and I have ever met. If I know anything at all about anything, this book is going to be amazing. The world has needed this book for a long time, and this is your opportunity to be a part of history in helping to make it happen.
Read more and support the project on Kickstarter.
After recent events in Newtown, Connecticut, Arts for Learning, the Indiana Affiliate of Young Audiences views a recent mural project in Shelby County as evidence that amazingly good things are happening in schools today. Waldron Elementary School in Waldron, IN revealed a mural Tuesday, December 18, 2012 that was created by every child in the K-5 school and the school staff with the help of Arts for Learning teaching artist Holly Combs. The moment of reveal was preceded with a “call” to the gym by the principal, Gina Pleak, over the loud speakers. She played the pop song, “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction, and as children entered the gym they danced and sang to the familiar tune. The mural was hidden by plastic, and as the principal, art teacher Renee Pereira, and other staff revealed it, you could hear a gasp followed by a cheer throughout the gym coming from adults and children alike. It was 3.5 feet tall and 40 feet long. About 340 portraits of school staff and students filled the letters that spelled “You are Beautiful.” This is not only a theme the school wants to infuse into students’ minds; it’s a favorite of street artist Holly Combs, who perpetuates the campaign started by Matthew Hoffman of Chicago (more information at heyitsmatthew.com). Matthew was actually present at the reveal. He states on his site, “I told them ‘you made this…and this message will be here forever.’ Tiny hands pointed wildly up at the piece, each one finding themselves in the piece. I left feeling completely renewed and hopeful. These kids, the future – are burning, blazing bright.” Combs told the story of Andy, a kindergarten student she had worked with. She had asked the question during her workshop, “What does it mean to be beautiful?” Andy replied, touching his chest, “It’s here, in your heart.” Blue River Community Foundation, Waldron Elementary School, and Arts for Learning, the Indiana Affiliate of Young Audiences supported this collaborative project.
This website is dedicated to documenting the art installations and murals produced by the Department of Public Words. Find us on Facebook.