Art and Music for Hope at CSS

Allissah Jerome

If you’ve been brave enough to travel to the fourth floor of Tower Hall, you would see in the making two beautiful murals. Each of the murals is being created for more than just aesthetic pleasure.

More than 200 individuals have collaborated to work on these two masterpieces. Dr. Sarah Brokke Erickson is acting as Project director and a Teaching Artist for the mural projects. The ideation phase for the murals began in November and is set to finish up any day now with the big unveil occurring Saturday, April 8th at the “Still I Rise” benefit concert. The concert will be from 3:30-5:30 p.m. in the Mitchell Auditorium.

“It’s really cool to see how it brings the community together. The whole purpose of her [Erickson] mural initiative is that it’s a community thing, bringing art into the community. It’s just really cool to work on such a large piece of art with so many other people,” said Bailey Barber, a senior who has worked on the mural project.

“Through this collaborative work, our students are able to both give back to the community as well as learn from and foster inclusive connections with others. The connection to the CSS Choir’s concert  “Still I Rise” is a perfect collaboration both in intent as well as the nature of the event itself,” Erickson said.

The murals were made possible through the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council Art Learning grant. This grant allowed Scholastica to invite visiting artist Shawna Gilmore to help work on the project.

“We have worked on the mural with Harbor City International High School Students, CSS Students, and Advocates and children from Safe Haven Women’s Shelter. The section I teach of Dignitas ‘Can Art Change the World’ has also been very involved,” Erickson said in an email interview.

The ‘Still I Rise’ mural project is actually the second annual Miral Initiative Project.

The ‘Still I Rise’ theme for both the mural project and the upcoming choir concert is based off of a poem by Maya Angelou with the same name. One of the murals will be donated to Harbor City International School and the other will be donated to Safe Haven both in Duluth, MN.

“I think for a lot of people art it just a nice decoration… they don’t really see it as something that can emotional impact people… I think that especially with where these are going they will have an impact that people won’t expect from them,” said CSS sophomore Erin Diver.

“The piece to be installed at Harbor City International School depicts light, truth, and the perception of the world through the lens of a lighthouse. It is also thematically connected to the school and the students themselves,” Erickson said.

“The piece to be installed at Safe Haven’s narrative is connected to the release of a origami crane; a paper crane that becomes a bird. The symbolism has both a connection to the place it will be installed as well as the Japanese Legend, One Thousand Paper Cranes,” Erickson said of the second mural.

“The blue mural is going to be the first thing that women (at Safe Haven) see when they walk into the shelter. That can be so powerful for someone and we made that happen… I think that’s really powerful that art can do that for someone else,” Megan Finegan said of working on the murals and what it means for her.

If you have time, take a trip to the fourth floor of Tower to look at the murals otherwise be sure to attend the “Still I Rise” benefit concert on April 8 where you will have another opportunity to view the pieces.