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The great walls of NYC
Murals that adorn public schools tell stories, beautify buildings
by Dorothy Callaci | January 17, 2013 New York Teacher issue
Murals, in all their variety, decorate outside walls, hallways, auditoriums and even stairwells in schools throughout the city. They celebrate diversity, capture characters in favorite stories, reflect the communities where students live and the subjects they are studying, and illustrate important events and even important ideas.
That’s why murals have been described as “living walls” or “talking walls.”
In schools like IS 52 in Manhattan, murals are everywhere. One floor reflects a colorful cross-curricula approach to units of study, according to Art Coordinator Natasha Bracey, and another captures the vibrancy of the school’s annual block party and street fair.
Outside murals — like the door at PS 7 in the Bronx or the extensive mural at PS 102 in Brooklyn that includes “welcome” in 43 languages — often involve a whole community of volunteers working from student’s ideas or designs.
Mary Dillon, an art teacher and the chapter leader at PS 340 in the Bronx, said, “After watching the One Hen mural come to life, every child at PS 340 wanted to paint a mural.”
Here are just a few of the thousands of student- and teacher-created murals in New York City public schools that welcome visitors and enliven the school day.