The works of artist Mark Paul Deren (AKA Madsteez) can be seen in cities throughout the world, and now you can find his latest piece, which pays tribute to civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., at one of Compton Unified School District’s (CUSD) schools.
Made possible through a partnership between Turnaround Arts and AOL, artist Madsteez designed the mural with input from the school community, and the consulting firm Branded Arts provided project management.AOL employees painted portions of the artwork, alongside the artist, during a year-end corporate meeting in Los Angeles. The mural was then moved to the school site for completion and installation.
The result is an eye-catching work featuring a portrait of the school’s namesake alongside the word “Dream and representations of the arts and academic achievement.
“Art inspires creativity…it’s a way to let your imagination run wild and remind you that anything is possible in life,” said Deren. “It’s really cool to do something so positive and inspiring for students in Compton. It was also to have the students involved. From now on they can say they were a part of this.”
Principal Stephanie Richardson said the new mural is a welcome addition to the school and a wonderful way to motivate students through the power of art.
“I had students and parents coming up to me talking about how amazing it looks, and the pride they have in the school,” she said. “It shows our community how important our learning environment is. As educators our key goal is to inspire, engage, and empower our students to make achieve their goals. This is one more piece that helps them do that.”
In addition to the generous donation of the mural, AOL employees wrapped gifts of arts supplies for King Elementary School students, which were delivered just before winter break.
King Elementary is one of ten Turnaround Arts partner schools in California. Through Turnaround Arts, King Elementary School has made the arts a key component of their turnaround. Classroom teachers implement arts integration strategies to engage students in learning core content area material. Hallways and classrooms brim with student’s creative work.
“Compton Unified is excited to unveil the wonderful mural created in partnership with Turnaround Arts and AOL. It serves as a great example of how art can unite communities the same way Dr. King did, and how it continues to inspire students to succeed academically and creatively at Compton schools like King Elementary,” said Darin Brawley, Superintendent of Compton Unified School District.
“Frank Gehry and I are thrilled about this partnership with AOL, proving that when corporations work with artists and non-profits to benefit local public schools, we all win, most importantly the students and the community,” said Malissa Feruzzi Shriver, Executive Director, Turnaround Arts: California.
In its prime location, the new school mural will greet children, teachers, parents and community members as they enter the auditorium, and will serve as a proud symbol of the dreams and talents of King Elementary School for years to come.