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connect / 2016

Connecting Community Through Color

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Big Sunday

Color Your School: Big Sunday is Creating Awesome Murals for (and with) Amazing Kids at Incredible Schools

Please describe your project proposal.

We want to change the face of schools by bringing a massive burst of color. We’ll bring students, faculty, parents and neighbors together to transform blank structures to ones filled with vibrancy and lively characters while learning the fundamentals of color therapy. We believe that by enhancing their environment, kids of any age will be more engaged and committed to their educational journey, schools will be more welcoming, and every community can enjoy and appreciate beautiful art.

Which of the connect metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • Social & emotional support
  • Cultural events
  • Public/open streets gatherings
  • Rates of volunteerism
  • Total number of local social media friends and connections Angelenos have

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South LA
  • Westside
  • South Bay
  • Gateway Cities
  • Antelope Valley
  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles
  • We are open to working anywhere in greater L.A.

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to connect?

Big Sunday has been bringing people of all ages and backgrounds together for nearly twenty years. Our mission statement embodies the spirit of ‘connecting.’ As our mission statement says, ‘We connect people through helping.’

We started as a single day of service. Today, we offer more than 2000 ways every year for absolutely anyone to pitch in, help out, and give back. Even better, we bring all kinds of diverse people together in the name of helping.

At Big Sunday, we believe that absolutely everyone has some way that they can help somebody else. We do not see the world as haves-and-have-nots but rather as haves-and-have-mores. Our participants include everyone from homeless people to movie stars and everyoje is treated and valued the same. In fact, at many of our events, it is difficult to tell to who is helping and who is being helped. In fact, we are proud of the fact that we often blue those lines.

Over the years, we have worked with hundreds of schools, from preschools through grad schools. We’ve worked with public, private, religious and secular schools. We’ve also worked with schools that serve all kinds of communities. One thing we’ve discovered is that schools don’t only serve children, but they involve faculty, parents, neighbors, and other stakeholders, too. Not only that, schools increasingly meet other needs as well, whether they operate as camps in the summer, polling places, sites for community meetings, a site for a show or concert, the home of a sustainable garden, the site of an exciting game, or drop-in sites for locals.

Of course, many schools that once were a site to simply teach children now also serve the function of de facto social service agencies, providing everything from food to clothing not only for their students, but the kids’ families as well.

We think every school should be welcoming to all. And without question a pretty and cheerful environment goes a long way to making a place ingratiating. We’ve discovered that too many schools can be run-down or drab – with others can be new but too sterile. We think that colorful murals can provide a school not only with warmth, but a great sense of place. This adds to the community’s sense of belonging (always important at Big Sunday) and pride. (Come to think of it, also very important to us!).

More importantly, when a community comes together in the name of creating that mural it has resonance both in the moment and for years to come. We will be teaming with professional artists who will work with schools communities to not only paint professional-level murals, but to work with the community to discern their interests and passions. Better still, the artists will be trained in color therapy and teach the participants about the value of color in creating environments that are not just pretty and festive, but also encouraging feelings of well-being, security and confidence.

Creating these murals will connect people in a classic Big Sunday way: impactful and fun.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

One of our goals is to introduce children to the impact that color and imagery has on their environment and their life. Also, how important murals and civic engagement are in our society. We see our measure of success gauged daily by the pride the students, faculty and community develop after their school is transformed through color. When cool and warm colors replace drab tones and imagery that has a social or environmental message becomes a part of the students surroundings they become engaged and excited to be in a place where creativity is encouraged. We see this as an integral part of their education.

Success will also be measured by: 1) increase in the arts at school, 2) other civic engagement projects at the school, whether art-related or other, 3) increased engagement among parents, 4) increased engagement among faculty, 4) increased engagement among neighbors, 5) increase in attendance of children, 6) harder to measure, but still important, anecdotal evidence that children are happy to be at school.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money
  • Volunteers
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles etc.)
  • Education/training
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support
  • Personal outreach in local communities