Students Paint the Town at Frick Impact Academy
by Anita Brown, Program Officer
At Frick Impact Academy, we live by the principles of being safe, responsible, and respectful. It’s how we walk in the halls, hold space in classrooms, and how we interact with each other at our school. It is also how we expect our students to live outside our walls. It’s how we feel our staff and families should live, and it is how our community should live. What better to communicate that than to paint on a key intersection where we often see cars speeding through: ‘BE SAFE. BE RESPONSIBLE. BE RESPECTFUL.’ in both English and Spanish, as a visual reminder to our entire community how we should and can be in community together.
-Jaymie Lollie, Community School Manager, Frick Impact Academy
At the beginning of the school year, PVF awarded a Visiting Artist grant to Frick Impact Academy to fund an artist from Attitudinal Healing Connection, Inc. to help with the school’s Paint the Town project, finalize a mural design, scale it to size, and provide hands-on mural prep and painting instruction for students.
Paint the Town is a program administered by Oakland’s Department of Transportation, meant to bring neighborhoods together in creating street murals to strengthen community and potentially even slow traffic. “A street mural designed and painted by community members brings people together and adds life and surprise to our streets.”
Lily Brown, an Oakland transportation planner overseeing the Paint the Town program, said, “It’s the first step in re-imagining what our streets are and can be. It’s not just a place for cars to speed through, not just a place where it all looks the same.” In total, thirty Paint the Town murals were selected and approved; six are being finished in East Oakland, and fifteen are in process in West and North Oakland.
On September 28-29, 2018, a group of 6th-8th grade students from Frick Impact Academy participated in their own Paint the Town project, from pressure washing and priming the surface to outlining the artwork with chalk to painting the mural. This “BE SAFE. BE RESPONSIBLE. BE RESPECTFUL.” mural was inspired by an event from a prior year, when a student was hit by a car and killed, a block east from the intersection where the mural is located.
“Despite the educational and violence challenges, Frick has a vibrant and talented student body focused on success. Our students are our heartbeat daily. We have seen how art has truly led to students finding, deepening, and refining their voice,” Jaymie Lollie, Community School Manager at Frick Impact Academy, wrote. She reported that the whole activity was healing for her students and that “the project went so well and we honestly couldn’t have done it without the visiting artist.”