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AIM Higher Bridgeport Student Workshop Mural Unveiling
September 28 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Bridgeport Teen Activists
Unveil 3 Public Art Murals
that address the impact of guns in their communities
Bridgeport, CT – September 26 – On Saturday, September 28th at 3-5 pm at Wheeler Park, we will unveil the Aim Higher United Against Gun Violence teen artist murals. This project engages Bridgeport youth in creating art that visually addresses the impact of guns in their lives and empowers them to join other powerful youth activists in calling for change. It is a collaboration between #UNLOAD, City Lights Gallery, Colorful Bridgeport in partnership with Neighborhood Studios and C.H.A.M.P. It is sponsored by #UNLOAD, CAGV, Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, Rotary Club of Bridgeport Connecticut, Bridgeport Gen Now, Black Rock NRZ, Trumbull Rotary Club, Tom’s and Source Coffee Shop with music provided by DJ Groove Seven and food and drinks by Funchal Restaurant. Special guests include the Right Honorable Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Bridgeport Mayor Ganim, and other state and local dignitaries and students.
Bridgeport youth artists from two local community programs, Neighborhood Studios and C.H.A.M.P., worked over the summer to create impactful public murals that will be mounted in Wheeler Park adjacent to City Hall in Bridgeport. These murals will move around with the next appearance scheduled at UCONN Stamford. The project was guided by the following respected regional artists and educators: Blends Gallery director Jahmane West, esteemed muralist and painter, Duvian Montoya, artist and arts educator Darcy Hicks. Additional mentor artists include Alicia Cobb, Adiel Dominguez, Shanna Melton, and Liz Squillace.
The goal of this project is to give local students the opportunity to develop and express their views about the impact of guns and gun violence in their communities, to express in a positive way their hopes for a safer world, and for them to be seen and heard as engaged change makers.
As Jahmane West explains, “Each mural represents the concerns and realities of the everyday people who live in Bridgeport. The overall concept of each mural is uplifting and directly addresses the challenge of bringing awareness to gun violence.”
In addition to the mural unveiling, several teens will speak about their work and their personal experiences; there will be a live demonstration by Swords into Plowshares (a non-profit that turns guns into garden tools), of guns being melted using a portable forge; there will be a DJ, a body painter, as well as FREE food and drink.
“Our number one goal is to empower these teens by giving them the structured time to discover their voices around the issue of gun violence, and to have a creative platform to express those voices. The feeling of agency in one’s own community can change everything for a young person,” said Darcy Hicks.
“In this time when young people are leading efforts to demand policy changes regarding climate change and gun violence–I’m thinking of Greta Thunberg and David Hogg from March for Our Lives – we want to lift up and celebrate the youth right here in Bridgeport who also want to speak up,” added Mary Himes, Co- Founder and Executive Director of the Unload Foundation Inc and wife of Congressman Jim Himes.
About the Unload Foundation Inc.
#UNLOAD’s mission is to use the arts to drive engagement and broaden the coalition of people who want to reduce gun violence. We harness the power of the arts to drive inclusive conversations that will empower people to speak up, especially those who have been on the sidelines: students, physicians, responsible gun owners, and veterans. We believe that there is strong national consensus about how to reduce gun violence, we just need to catalyze this new, broad coalition of citizens. www.unloadusa.org
About Neighborhood Studios of Fairfield County
Neighborhood Studios of Fairfield County is a community school of the arts whose mission is to transform the lives of Bridgeport youth through arts education, empowering them to make a difference in their community.