An art project for those who can go unnoticed and inaudible
Sienna Bucu ’22 received a $10,000 Projects for Peace grant to undertake an ambitious art installation project in public schools in her hometown of Union, New Jersey.
“We Are Here: Engaging in Art for Resilience and Reclaiming Space” is designed for students with behavioral and academic setbacks, students in need of additional social emotional support, and interested students by art across the district to create site-specific murals and installations.
“The plan is to create a work environment where students can foster creativity, allow themselves space to heal, and give back to their community. For this project, the creative process is just as important, if not more so, than the end result,” Bucu said. “Seeing yourself and seeing yourself make a lasting impression on the walls is an act of radical care for self and community.”
Bucu, an art studio major with minors in philosophy and art history, will seek to identify six to 10 students per school to collaborate on the project, and will also work closely with district teachers and its school board. . The resulting artwork will amplify student voices and draw attention to mental health initiatives. Murals will be done for Union High School and the two middle schools in the district. The seven elementary schools in the district will each be the subject of small drawing projects.
“This project intends to be a marker of place – students who may go unnoticed and unheard will now have a permanent display of their presence made with their own hands,” Bucu said. “The prints on the walls mean they won’t be forgotten or discarded. They are counting.
Projects for Peace is a global program that encourages young adults to develop innovative, community-centered and scalable responses to the world’s most pressing issues. Along the way, these student leaders deepen their knowledge, improve their skills, and establish their identity as peacemakers and agents of change. Projects for Peace is hosted by the Center for Community Engagement at Middlebury College. Participation in Brandeis is facilitated by the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life.