Students at Fort Greene Preparatory Academy and P.S. 46 unveiled a new set of murals at their school on Friday afternoon.
20 students from the elementary and middle school campus at 100 Clermont Ave., paired with a professional artist to complete five murals in their cafeteria.
The completed designs show, from left to right: the logo for Fort Greene Preparatory Academy, a picture of equations floating around a diploma and feather pen, the scales of justice, a musical note surrounded by different social media logos, and the logo for P.S. 46.
Even though Jaiyana Wiley, 13, primarily worked on other murals, she said that the one in the middle, depicting the scales of justice, was her favorite.
“It’s about balance. It’s about everything,” Wiley said in an interview.
Artist Tyronn Kelley, 53, said that while he helped them with some details, the students really did do most of the work.
“I just kind of enhanced the work. So just to make sure that everything was crystal clear and had depth,” Kelley said. So other than that they did the work they didn’t leave me much to do.”
“Talented kids man… talented kids,” Kelley continued saying, with a big grin on his face.
Kelley further said that being able to give back and teach kids about art was an honor since art is what he says put him on a positive trajectory in life.
“It only takes like one or two experiences to put that kid on a path to who’s gonna be in the future. So anything that promotes positivity, I just love it,” Kelley said.
The murals were organized by the gun violence prevention group Melquian Jatelle Anderson Foundation. Michelle Barnes-Anderson founded and named after her son was murdered in 2017 at the Farragut Houses.
“So we have tried to do a lot of things in the Farragut/Fort Greene area,” Khadedra Hall, the sister of Barnes-Anderson and Chief Financial Officer of MJAF, explained. “So we were excited, happy, and over the moon that we were able to do our first mural project right here at this school that has not only children from Farragut, but also serves children from Fort Greene.”
Funding for the mural program was awarded to the faith-based community organization BronxConnect by Urban Upbound, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending poverty in New York City. Reverend Wendy Calderón-Payne, the executive director of BronxConnect, contracted MJAF to create three murals.
The second MJAF-organized mural is currently in progress and will be located on Dean Street. MJAF said in an email that they have recruited youth from Pure Legacee in Brownsville, an organization that assists formerly incarcerated or homeless young women, to assist with the project.
The third and final mural is tentatively scheduled to be completed in the Tompkins area due to gang presence.
“This is something that they will be able to remember for years to come and share with their children. So that’s why we wanted to do a mural,” Barnes-Anderson said. “We didn’t want to just do a painting that could be hung up and taken down. We wanted something that the school would take and cherish and memorize, you know, be memorable for years to come.”