Photography: Elk Grove Unified School District

Could street art enhance learning and ease back-to-school anxiety? In Sacramento, Samuel Jackman Middle School is crowdfunding a project to cover its walls in murals, turning the campus into an immersive ‘living gallery’ that will help students transition back to the classroom after months of remote digital learning.

The school is located off Mack Road in South Sacramento and is a part of the Elk Grove Unified School District. Vice-Principal Justine Fuller launched the campaign, which aims to raise $20,000, as a novel way to celebrate the cultural diversity of the neighbourhood and engage the student population, where around a third speak English as their second language.

 

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‘One opportunity quarantining has encouraged is enjoying outdoor spaces and exploring the beauty of our region,’ says Vice-Principal Fuller. ‘There is fantastic murals/street art in our own backyard – Sacramento has some amazing artists! The inspiration of these unique art pieces has ignited our desire to bring this beauty to Jackman and introduce our students to phenomenal local art and artists. Our students will be able to learn and achieve surrounded by art that represents them.’

Among those involved in the initiative is artist BAMR aka Demetris Washington, whose three-blocks-long Black Lives Matter mural gained international focus last summer. He will bring his work from Downtown Sacramento’s streets to the campus and work with students to create brightly coloured, site-specific designs.

 

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‘We’ve all been through quarantine, we’ve all been through the pandemic, we’ve all shared similar experiences and stresses,’ says BAMR. ‘What we would like to do as artists and academic professionals is boost the morale of both students and parents and get you excited about coming back to school.’

Head to the school’s Gofundme page to chip in and bring VP Fuller’s vision to life.

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