Art Club’s MLK mural: “Carry on the Dream”

Screen shot 2013-01-28 at 3.14.37 PMFrom Jan. 23-25 in the Bellevue College cafeteria, members of the Art Club gathered to  honor and celebrate of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the legacy he and his colleagues left behind.  Their contribution this year took the form of a participatory mural.

Featured at the farthest left side is King, placed alongside likes of Rosa Parks, Daisy Bates, Ella Baker and Medgar Evers. But amidst the splashes of vibrant color, the mural begins to merge into a series of abstract faces and figures, which become more numerous as a viewer moves further right along the picture.  Each figure or face has a space left open beside it for a BC student to write their thoughts of the legacy left by those great civil rights leaders.

“The hope is people can come up here and find a figure or face they connect with and write their thoughts in next to that,” said Art Club President Tara Kraft,.“It’s supposed to become more general and universal and generally representative of us.”

Students filling the cafeteria stood nearby to watch the faces come together at the tip of a brush. Some occasionally wandered over to read what others had written, many of them making their own unique addition. Some of the thoughts left by students on the mural include; “To be able to talk about privilege, the difference of each other, and never stop talking and celebrating our differences,” “I have a dream that one day people will feel brave enough to share their truth without being judged,” “I carry on the dream by accepting all people and welcoming them with a smile; showing love to everyone, no matter the difference or disability,” “One planet, one species…a million cultures, billions of perspectives. Everyone has a place in this world…ACCEPT,” “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

The Art Club held a planning meeting last week for the mural for the members to gather ideas and imagery. It was also held for reflection on the leadership that has evolved since the civil rights movement.

“In planning the mural, we reflected on how all the individual acts, of courage, of effort, of what was helpful instead of what was easy, made up the civil rights movement, how so many people came together to effect change,” said Kraft. “Some of them made the ultimate sacrifice, and so we wanted to encapsulate that idea of all these individual acts of courage and righteousness leading to this bigger movement, and the idea of the acts of the civil rights movement reverberating to today.”

Josh Wong, an art club member who referred to himselft as the “resident potrait expert, had the honor of painting the king on the mural. “At first, I thought ‘Oh, I want to paint; this is going to be fun, but then as I started doing it, I [felt] connected to this movement. I felt like that painting each person. You’re connected to them more when you go into detail, it’s more than the visual, you connect with the people.”