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In Good Company

Creative Art Works has produced many fine murals in and around the Jacob Schiff School Campus. CAW murals inside the courtyard and along 138th Street have included Magic with Logic, Dreams of a Creative Revolution, Migrations, and The More You Give the More You Grow. This summer, our Youth Apprentices added a stunning new mural to this impressive collection. Peace of Our Time reflects the values of our program partners, Hamilton Grange Middle School and PS 192, celebrates the history and cultural diversity of Hamilton Heights, and pays homage to the contributions of immigrant communities.

The official unveiling of this mural was marked by energy, enthusiasm, and emotion. Our team of Youth Apprentices embraced their community, their Teaching Artists, and each other. Below is a selection of just a few memorable quotes. Scroll down to view an annotated key to the symbolism of the mural and to read a poem written expressly for the unveiling by one of our YA's.

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Brandon Arthur

This is the oxytocin hormone, which is responsible for love, compassion and all things community-related. This hormone is released in your body and makes you feel good whenever you hug or are hugged by a loved one like your mom, your dad, or your boyfriend.

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Kwanza Owes

This experience made me a better person. I'm pretty sure it made everybody on my team better people, too. I feel like we grew from caterpillars to butterflies through the process. We picked up a lot of different types of knowledge and grew to love each other.

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Patience Allen

(Exchange Student from Ghana through
Right to Dream)

For the first few weeks, I was like, 'Wait, this place is not for me! I have no artistic ability.' But I was around artistic people all day, and they encouraged me, and I learned from them you don't always have to have the best skills. You can be different from everyone else and that makes you human. I'm going to miss these guys a lot.

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Princeton Wheeler-Mercovitch

I've met some outstanding people throughout these six weeks. Not only great artists, but people with beautiful personalities. I feel that I have learned some great lessons from these people.

Symbolism of the Mural

  1. Alexander Hamilton, first Secretary of the US Treasury and namesake of Hamilton Grange Middle School.

  2. Jacob Schiff, philanthropist who founded an orphanage on the land that now includes Schiff School Campus and Schiff Park.

  3. Schiff Orphanage. The wall the mural is painted on is the last vestige of the orphanage, which was razed to make way for the present-day school.

  4. The chemical schematic for oxytocin, sometimes called the “cuddle hormone” or the “love hormone,” because it is released when people touch.

  5. Swatches of traditional fabrics from around the world are arranged in the colors of the rainbow, representing both ethnic diversity and the LGBTQ community.

  6. A child reaching for the stars, representing dreams supported by education.

  7. A honeycomb, representing the industrious nature of bees.

  8. The rufous hummingbird is small but mighty, migrating 2,000 miles from South America to Alaska each year.

  9. The hibiscus is the national flower of the Dominican Republic. Students of Dominican descent make up a large percentage of the population of Hamilton Heights.

  10. Traditional beadwork represents the local Guatemalan population.

  11. An allusion to the Tupac Shakur poem “The Rose that Grew from Concrete,” about overcoming adversity.

An Original Poem to Dedicate the Mural

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“Peace of Our Time”

by Destiny “D.C.” Collins

Little black child whose kinks they never defined as curls, whose poker face is often confused with a pucker, whose display of emotions (or lack thereof) are often villainized, you are beautiful!

Your DNA has been morphed with the strength of
Millions of survivors and the wisdom of 1,000 towns. You have been weaved to perfection by a tight-knit community whose detailing is worth more than the overview.

So, chin up! keep your head high! Embrace the imperfection and abandon the idea that indulging in a plate of self-hate is more satisfying than drowning in a cup of confidence.

Straining for some oxygen, baby you just want to breathe! I get it! You just want to breathe, but a
Chemically imbalanced crown never sat straight.

So, chin up! keep your head high! Little black child, you are beautiful! You are worthy!
You matter!

 
 

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