Mural: Words are Power

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Who:  PlatteForum’s ArtLab + Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect
What:  Mural creation

Words Are Power was created in the summer of 2010 by 15 youth from the PlatteForum’s ArtLab program in collaboration with the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect. The mural’s conceptualization process took place over about a month’s time, where the youth held discussions and workshops addressing discipline and abuse. The youth asked themselves the personal question, “should what happens in the house, stay in the house?” After an in-depth look into the issues that shape the lives of students, parents, and our community – the youth engaged in a study of design and media. For the creation of Words Are Power, the students split into teams and spent time with Lead Artists Judy Anderson and Jordan Casteel.

Words Are Power addresses child abuse and neglect by paying special attention to positive and negative phrases often heard in our communities. Through the discussion, the students decided to use an image of a teddy bear as the center of the mural. This bear is a symbol of childhood and is an iconic image in our communities. At first glance, the teddy bear is just that, but as the viewer looks deeper you find the bear’s arm is in a cast, there is a tare in its ear, it is missing a shoe, etc. The students wrote the negative words with charcoal, allowing them the power of their own hand, emphasizing the blurring that can happen between the words. On top of the negative words in cursive are the positive phrases that the students hope will guide us into the future.

The intent of Words Are Power is to raise awareness and inspire discussion about an issue that many still consider taboo. The students achieve this through layers of materials and images, creating a dialog on the canvas and hopefully a dialog in our communities.

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