A new mural, gifted to the city of New York by prominent Cuban-American artist Carmen Herrera, was unveiled on November 5. Guests gathered at the work’ssite, JHS99(a school in East Harlem), to witness the launch of this new Manhattan landmark visible from the nearby FDR Drive.
“Here we are at this amazing piece of art done by students and designed by a woman who is internationally loved and understands the importance of art education. This is art where it should be.” said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who’s long been a supporter of Publicolor. The socially distanced ceremony began with a warm welcome from Publicolor Founder and President Ruth Lande Shuman, delivering heartwarming background on the project: “We had a total of 10students working on this. The mural is divided into 96 different panels and our students gridded and measured the whole thing. One of our students told us his math grade went up by twenty-six points since starting this project. If nothing else, that says a lot about project based learning.” Following, JHS Principal Luis Genao appreciatively thanked the organization, “We’ve been here for twenty-five years and with the support of Publicolor we’ve been able to keep the arts alive in this building.”
Publicolor is a long-term youth development program that uses project-based learning models to engage disaffected students in their education, one of which is painting artwork like this one as part of our Publicolor community museum. We use color and design to transform struggling schools and nearby community facilities-over 500 to date.Students reacted warmly to the opportunity of working with a female artist who is Cuban, as so many of them are also native Spanish speakers. During the event, guests had the pleasure of hearing directly from the students turned painters; “This mural showed me hard work pays off, I feel honored to be 14 and able to paint work from someone as honorable as Carmen Herrera. When I look at the mural I feel empowerment, especially empowerment for women.”said JHS freshman Kahlauney Beret.