For the last several months, Art Therapist and certified K-12 art teacher Sheri Roseman, M.A., A.T.R.- B.C., has been working with students at Garfield Park Academy, piecing together shards of broken glass and tile to tell stories of shared hope.
Ms. Roseman is leading the school-wide mosaic and mural project which, when complete, will include six mosaics and several large painted murals, tied together around the theme of hope. While the finished artwork is beautiful, this project is more than the product – it is the process.
“It is a challenging time to be a teen in America. We wanted students to talk about that and have a place to share their hopes for the future. Building these projects has pulled students together as a team to work on something larger than themselves.”
According to Roseman, the public art project promoted candid discussions about economic inequity, despair, race relations, trauma, and politics. “For some students, it took a long time to get to the feeling of hope that we wanted to convey,” she said.
Students had to answer the question: what does hope look like? Next, they had to work as a group to decide how to tell the story of hope in a picture that will last for years and be viewed by others who do not know them. The project provides a visual roadmap to their future. It helps them to take a step back and see things in a new way.
For one of the mosaics, students generated words related to hope – family, love, happiness, peace – which they etched onto mirrored tiles that represented leaves on a tree.
“Through these mosaics, students are learning that they have a voice and a story to tell. They are literally seeing themselves reflected in the mosaic. It reminds them that this school is about them, and that their stories matter,” she said.