Lyra Harris, San Francisco resident and artist, created a mural with kids from the Santa Maria Barrio.  This is her story.

Mural Making

In June 2009, I traveled to Quito to lead a mural painting project at Para Dar Esparanza, an after school program for kids in the Santa Maria neighborhood of Quito. Becas gives scholarships to kids at the Para Dar Esparanza program so that they can afford public school fees and continue with their studies.

Bryan On the first day, we talked about the history of mural painting and implications of public art.  The kids brainstormed ideas and values that were important to them and talked about how they might want to convey those things to their community through the mural.  Some of the ideas included protecting the environment, keeping their community clean, and having a unified community.  After more discussion the kids chose the theme, “Soñamos con un barrio limpo y unido” or “We dream with a neighborhood clean and united” as the topic for the mural.

After I sketched a version of the mural based on their theme the kids gave impute and we arrived at a final sketch.  The following day we painted the wall white in preparation.  I then transferred the sketch of the mural onto the wall.  While it rained for two days, I lead an impromptu color theory workshop.  We talked about primary and secondary colors, how to mix colors to create other colors, and hues and shades.  The kids picked a section of the mural and created a painting using some of the techniques we had just learned.

After the rain let up, we spent the next week painting the mural.  Kids of all ages joined in the painting, excited to receive their next color and portion of the mural.  We talked about painting small sections and how they fit into the whole.  Several kids from the neighborhood who were not participants of Para Dar Esparanza stopped by to admire our work and ask if they could join in.  One evening as we were cleaning up for the day, a woman took her infant on a walk past the mural pointing out the kids in the mural, the bird and flowers.  It was great to see the pride and ownership the kids had as the community started to notice and enjoy the mural.

After I left, Ella reported that the kids decided they wanted to paint another mural.  This time their theme was “Protecting the Environment” and within a short time had painted another beautiful mural for their community. 

–Lyra Harris


One Response to Mural making in the Barrio

  1. More Mural Art... says:

    More Mural Art……

    Simple is better it seems….