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Expressive Arts: Murals

”We are made of bone and flesh and story”

— “ Janna,” Naomi Shihab Nye

Shaping our Environment: Creating Refuge through Collaborative Art

Art can help us reimagine the spaces we inhabit and the settings in which we spend time. I worked with women seeking asylum to transform a makeshift dwelling into a place of refuge in which they could congregate, share stories and relax. For over two decades, I have worked with youth, transforming school sites and developing community through colorful murals and creative engagement. Art strengthens us by giving our aspirations a voice.

Methodology for Community Engagement

  • Grounding activities and breath work
  • Form a tight knit “group container”
  • Collective envisioning process
  • Invite improvisation as part of the painting process
  • Honor boundaries
  • Provide leadership roles

Women’s Mural Project

  • How do you want the room to feel?
  • Can you imagine colors? How do those colors feel in your body? Will they help you relax here?
  • How would it feel if you expand your image outside the boundaries? What sensations would that create?
  • What is the woman in your painting dreaming of?
  • How do we know? Can you magnify the patterns, colors, designs and shapes?
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