One Vision, One Mind, One Goal - Excellence (2015)
Artist: Carolyn Elaine
-Location: Burnside Scholastic Academy.
Since 2013 I have had the privilege of working with Burnside Scholastic Academy to transform their school’s environment through art. The Revolutionize Burnside Project has artistically engaged students in chronicling the rich history of their schools involvement in the Civil Rights movement through hands on fabrication of both interior and exterior mosaic installations. A 300 square feet permanent mosaic artwork, fabricated in 2013-2014, now lines the walls of the schools entry way staircase commemorating the 1962 Burnside Sit-In against school segregation in Chicago.
During the 2014-2015 school year I worked with the 2015 eighth grade graduating class of Burnside Scholastic Academy to depict the school’s motto (One Vision, One Mind, One Goal - Excellence) in a 200 square feet mosaic composition that has transformed the school’s three exterior entrances. The composition includes portraits and quotations (painted by Dorian Sylvain) from three historical Civil Rights leaders; Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Maya Angelou and Nelson Mandela. This artwork provides a constant visual of the unwavering determination of African Americans both past and present for the community at large and it will always be remembered as the gift of the Burnside graduation class of 2015.
Working with Burnside Scholastic Academy on projects that infuse it's own connection and historic involvement in the Civil Rights movement with fine arts allows me as a professional local artist, the opportunity to provide students high quality arts instruction and support a classroom teacher to integrate two subjects that are often under represented (Fine Arts and Civil Rights) in her curriculum.
My focus is to use art to make a difference in inner city communities where the loss of life among African American youth due to violence is not only devastating but impacting the overall view of our culture at large. I assert that my collaborative art making process is a means to build community, educate and reconnect African American youth with their ancestral culture which is life-centered, community-oriented and morality based.
My partnership with Burnside has clearly deepened and expanded the level of arts education in the school. My work has been fully supported by the administration, teachers and staff and provided the impetus for using art as a vehicle for social change. I look forward to doing continued work with the school and empowering our youth to realize and express their own visual voices through creating public art installations that will further expand the transformation of their environment with a legacy of stories that are of importance to them.
The finished artwork has transformed the school’s three exterior entrances. It stands for the strong students of Burnside both past and present and will always be remembered as the gift of the graduation class of 2015.