We facilitate community mural projects with colleges and universities, K-12 schools, and community-based organizations, and educate on the history of muralism in the United States and the value of community murals and graffiti as forms of democratic art. We use visual art and murals to lift up the voices, images, and people that are often left in the margins. Our work centers on using mural arts as a vehicle for community-building, beautification, and healing. We believe in the power of the arts to heal, bring people together, build community, create dialogue, and celebrate the lives and stories of the African Diaspora.
Will Kasso Condry, Jennifer Herrera Condry, and Alexa Herrera Condry of Juniper Creative Arts
Champlain Housing Trust is commissioning us to do a 400 square foot mural on elevated panels on the North Street side of the Old North End Community Center building, which they own. For the past year, we have been in the planning stages to expand our Afro-Pollinator series into the Old North End with our partners at Champlain Housing Trust. The Old North End (ONE) is a neighborhood that has one of the most diverse communities in Burlington, Vermont, spanning a wide range of racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and citizenship demographics. A place where BIPOC representation in public art matters significantly to the youth and families of the area. The Old North End Community Center, created by Champlain Housing Trust a few years ago, is the heart of community work in the area; home to organizations including AALV (Association of Africans Living in Vermont), a community theater group, a five-star early care and education program, a senior center, and a Hindu temple association, in addition to offerings of the local Parks and Recreation Department.
Kelis the Afronaut
The Old North End Community Center mural titled “Moringa the Medicine Woman” is part of our Afro-Pollinator series that began with “Kelis the Afronaut ” at Champlain Elementary School.
“Moringa” is modeled by our dear friend Mercedes Mack, who is a Vermont native and longtime resident of the Old North End, DJ, and a medicine woman herself. The mural will have contributions from many creative helping hands from workshops we led this past Spring with 4th and 5th graders at Integrated Arts Academy and Sustainability Academy and culminating in a Community Paint Day on July 31 where the public is invited to contribute to the artwork. The paint day will coincide with the annual Old North End Ramble and ONE World Market. There will be kid-friendly activities, food trucks, and live music and DJs.
The mural design was created with the architecture of this historical building in mind. Last fall, we painted a sibling mural along two vertical metal ducts next to the future Afro-Pollinator installation that would otherwise have been an unremarkable industrial element. “Moringa” will be fabricated on a 20’ x 20’ panel raised off of the facade to protect the historical brickwork.
Each step of this project has had community and connection at the forefront- from the choice of building and wall, to the decision to hold workshops with local students to contribute to the artwork, to the addition of a community paint day where the public is invited to contribute to the creation of the mural by painting predetermined shapes that will be collaged into the mural, and the ultimate celebration of this co-created and community-centered centerpiece.
We have received some funding from the Vermont Community Foundation Spark grant and sales proceeds from First Branch Coffee Company and our Juneteenth tshirt. After months of applying for other multiple competitive public art grants to no avail, we decided to take it to the community to help us fund this incredible mural project at the Old North End Community Center.
The total budget for the project is $32,500. Yes, it's seems like a lot but it's primarily supporting equitable compensation for the Juniper Creative Arts team and our assistants, the cost of elevated panels, supplies, scissor lift rental, and the Community Paint Day event. Champlain Housing Trust has agreed to match all donations up to the campaign fundraising goal.
HELP US BRING MORINGA THE MEDICINE WOMAN TO LIFE THIS SUMMER!
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