Commemorating 50th Anniversary of Montgomery Bus Boycott 2003-2004

montgomery bus_project

Commemorating 50th Anniversary of Montgomery Bus Boycott 2003-2004

Four interactive Digital Mural Project in Baltimore, New York, Philadelphia and D.C.: 5’x25’ digital print on canvas. Led by Student graduates of Digital Mural Lab sponsored by Verizon.

SPARC’s Cesar Chavez Digital Mural Lab introduces a new VIRTUAL, INTERACTIVE MURAL produced across four cities.

NEW YORK – In recognition of Black History Month, SPARC, The Social and Public Arts Resource Center and has developed, coordinated and facilitated workshops in which elementary and middle-school visual and “spoken word” artists will help SPARC to create a virtual mural-rendition of the Montgomery, AL Bus Boycott on its 50th anniversary.


SPARC’S team worked a week in each school to teach the children how to carry out “SPARC’s voice to vision” process. The children wrote and painted visual metaphors, which will be included in a Digital mural that will combine images from the four schools and be reproduced for installation in all four-school sites designed by the children in their classrooms and Judy Baca in the Cesar Chavez Digital Mural Lab at SPARC.

The focus is to enhance the visual literacy of the students while fostering self-expression through visual iconography that is generated from the experiences of the children.  Teaching children to “see” is perhaps the most important outcome of the curriculum and to value their own capacity to become originators of imagery.  For instance, one of the exercises involves portraying Montgomery’s transformation as the “Cradle of the Confederacy” to the ” Cradle of the Civil Rights Movement” through using metaphorical imagery.

Through the exercises, the workshop brought about multiple perspectives on a monumental event in the civil rights movement. The workshop strove to teach the children how to use the same technique to view their own lives.   The majority of the students in all of the selected schools come from communities torn apart by violence, racism and poverty.  The challenge was not only to teach these students to paint, but to help them translate their own negative experiences into relevant narratives to share with the world.

As a result of the Montgomery Bus Project, SPARC hopes to give these children a new outlook on the influential role of art in the community.   “This has the important value of teaching youth,” states Baca, “to see themselves as contributors to culture, to public spaces, public dialogue and to the world.