Shaun LaRose and Rondell Crier are two local professional artists collaborating with students, interns, and residents of the Glass Street area to accomplish an iconic mural representing the core values and history of the Glass Street neighborhood.
Glass House Collective has identified the side of the old bank building at the intersection of Glass Street and N. Chamberlain at 2500 Glass St. owned by Community of Christ Church as the ideal location for a this collective mural. Shaun LaRose will be coordinating the overall project, incorporating other artists, interns, and students to create a quality piece, which accurately reflects the Glass St. community.
LaRose began by asking input from the community to identify appropriate themes and/or community persons to be part of the mural compositions.
“This is one of the most exciting parts as you hear local stories and the community begins to take on its own distinct personality. This helps to develop a visual narrative that embodies these qualities,” explained LaRose.
Crier and LaRose shared their respective designs with one another and worked to create one compelling design that is a symbolic depiction of virtues passed from one generation to the next telling the story of how each generation builds on what and who has come before them while also casting a vision for the future.
“This area of emphasis will create a new visual landscape and impact both through image, and message. By telling the visual narrative of Glass Street, commemorating its past, its values and its future vision, the community will grow to know these stories, adopt these stories, and be part of the continued story of Glass Street. Furthermore, the visual interest and aesthetic excellence will bring an even greater interest in Glass Street and potentially a greater investment in the area by business and local community investors,” explained LaRose.
The collaborative mural begins with a young girl on the left blowing a dandelion, representing hope. White dandelions are often used as a symbol of new beginnings, so this figure literally depicts the hope for new beginnings as a seed that spreads and ultimately the beginning of new vision for the future. Directly behind the figure are fields of poppies, which are symbolic of dreams.
The little boy adds an emphasis on education as he is reading and from his book will be emerging flying birds carrying that knowledge forward. The education piece stresses the need to be equipped in order to actualize a future vision.
The matriarchal figure that sits knitting a tapestry of love and charity for the future generations. This is an important figure as it communicates the necessity of intergenerational collaboration and a kind of maternal care for a community that is the heart behind the relationships of people and place from one generation to the next.
The fourth and final figure is a young girl who playfully re-imagines the tapestry of hope and love into a creative realization. In faith, she holds the hopes and dreams of those who have come before her and creates something new. This particular figure is, in fact, a young girl from the glass street community, as we thought it was important to depict someone who truthfully represents this rising generation and future of the Glass Street community.
To begin the wall prep in June, LaRose led a summer camp with high school students from the community and greater Chattanooga area. After LaRose secured funding from the Royal Society of the Arts in the United States, he hired two interns to work alongside of him developing a large-scale mural from conception to finished application. They will commit 75 hours over 3-4 weeks to the Glass Street Mural project and then expected to collaborate on producing a smaller scale mural. These interns are paid and will receive a stipend for materials. Emma Flynn and Miles Freeman were chosen as the 2013 interns.
The mural is expected to be the largest in Chattanooga and projected to be finished the third week of August with a unveiling party on Friday, August 16th at 6pm.
All photos placed in this post were taken by Laura Bohon
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