Every Day is a New Day
The middle school years can be a bumpy road from childhood to adolescence. This time of rapid growth and personal discovery is a both a critical juncture and excellent opportunity to harness and direct that exploding energy in positive, constructive ways.
Longtime CAW partner West Harlem Group Development Corporation (WHDC) has responded to this need with their own twist on summer youth employment programming, offering West Harlem students aged 14 and up the chance to participate in the “Arise! SYEEP” program. (The extra “E” is for “Education” and includes NYS Regents/ACT/SAT prep and community service components.
This summer, Creative Art Works engaged six SYEEP youth – who also happened to be recent graduates of Hamilton Grange Middle School – as part-time Youth Apprentices. These young artists were tasked with painting a pair of murals on the north and south entrances to their alma mater’s Jacob Schiff School Campus. The theme of the artwork, entitled Every Day is a New Day: Sunrise and Sunset, was developed through client meetings with Hamilton Grange and PS 192 staff. The team embraced the idea of welcoming students to their school and sending them home each day with positive images.
WHDC Program Manager, Arise! SYEEP
“I want to thank these young people for their creativity. This mural represents you speaking to the community. I know I’m hard on you, but I’m very proud of what you’ve done here. I also want to thank Creative Art Works for teaching them a valuable lesson in life that they will carry with them forever.”
CAW SYEEP Youth Apprentice
“One thing I learned was patience. I had a lot of arguments with my teammates over the summer, but I had to learn to get over it. We used a lot of tools this summer – but two big ones were compassion and teamwork.”
CAW Teaching Artist Assistant
“I could see these YA’s maturing over the summer. They learned responsibility, teamwork, and accountability. They developed a strong work ethic. Also, while many of them had limited experience making art prior to this summer, they all discovered they are more creative than they gave themselves credit for.”
The murals flanking the north stairway feature abstract tropical plants and swirling clouds in shades of orange and yellow. Silhouettes of family and friends climb the stairs.
The murals flanking the north stairway are dominated by abstract tropical plants and swirling clouds in shades of purple and blue, and features silhouettes of students engaged in study, public speaking and sports.