The impact that art can have on a person is the “POW!” The reaction that art has on the viewer is the “WOW!” Together they form POW! WOW! Worcester, a weeklong festival held around the city celebrating culture, music, and art. Muralists from around the country and the world showcased their talents to create jaw-dropping murals on barren Worcester building walls. As the festival kicked off this year, the primary mural location was Elm Park Community School. During the first week of school, our 8th grade students had the honor of getting involved with the muralists at the Elm Park location.
POW! WOW! muralist and volunteer coordinator Hank VonHellion met with the students and members of the Bancroft faculty and introduced them to various artists working on the murals at Elm Park Community School. He explained the impact that these murals can have on a community, as well as how the project has brought people from all over the world to our city to share their passion and love of art.
"The kids were great,” Hank said, “and I’m beyond thrilled that they seemed to really take the experience to heart. I feel like we all helped inspire a sizable number of future artists and creative thinkers."
Along with hearing stories of how the muralists followed the paths they were truly passionate about in life, the students also got a free lesson in the art of spray painting, and a look at some of the different techniques used on the murals going up around the city. Eighth grader Anna M. said she really enjoyed the tips about the spray painting, while fellow 8th grader Brent S. said he’s already gone back a few times to see the progress of the projects.
This experience allowed the students to not only have hands-on learning, but also to jump into the middle of a citywide community project. “The lesson here spanned well beyond the canvases that they created,” said 8th grade advisor Kendra McCuine. “Our students experienced firsthand the impact that art can have on a space and community, as well as the amount of planning and hard work that goes into pulling off a project of this size!”
By going beyond a traditional field trip and actively engaging in the community experience, our students not only witnessed the impact these murals will have on the Elm Park Community School, but also got to see themselves as vital participants in the life of their city.