Freedom and Unity Mural for Promising Bridgeport Youth

Art in Common, Inc. sponsors Freedom and Unity Mural for Promising Bridgeport Youth

Press Release:

On December 3rd, 2016, Art in Common, Inc., a Ridgefield non-profit, sponsored the Freedom and Unity Mural at the Trailer Box Gallery in Danbury, CT. Graffiti Artists for a Positive Cause donated their time and expertise to connect and collaborate with children new to the US. The result is a 100-foot wide, 10-foot high, exceedingly vibrant mural featuring images from the children’s countries of origin: Tanzania, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Art in Common, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) community outreach charitable organization whose mission is to promote creativity and increase community awareness around important social issues. They work with resettled refugees and at-risk-youth to engender an inclusive spirit of creativity and connection across diverse populations. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United States admitted 66,500 refugees for resettlement in 2015, 60% of the global total. The fiscal year 2016 assumes 85,000. Aimee Jette, Art in Common’s founder, explains that the resettlement process can be arduous and isolating. “Our goal is to break some of that isolation and create opportunities for connection; it doesn’t hurt to make it cool, fun and unforgettable! I get a lot of positive feedback from the children’s parents, community members, and volunteers. We may be small now, but we’ve got a big vision and members with an incredible amount of creativity and compassion.”

Emmett Covello, who directs Cavaliers Day Camp in NYC volunteered at the Freedom and Unity Mural event. “At first I wasn’t sure how to help, then someone laughed, we all relaxed and enjoyed a great day. I felt I had made many new friends in a short time.” Despite the cold weather, the fire was blazing, and the music was pumping. Mary Hayes Phelps, realtor at William Pitt Sotheby’s, Ridgefield and Art in Common board member, remarked, “At one point I looked over, and about eight kids are sitting around the fire staying warm talking, listening to each other. They were all from different cultures and backgrounds. I was struck by how natural it was for them to be together.” What stayed with Hampton Carey, another volunteer, was the sense of both joy and purpose emanating from the group, young and old alike. “Everyone seemed so pleased to be part of this event, to enjoy collaborating, and to be celebrating a project of such inclusion.”  

Mark Krantz, owner of Mark Krantz Productions and chairman of Art in Common, recalls, “What impressed me most about the day was how everyone felt at ease. The kids were anxious to paint; everyone was proud to be there. It was like a party. There wasn’t any kind of prejudice or fear.”

Dedan “TWO” Davenport demonstrated “can control” and taught the kids how to fill in his design for “DRC.” Akbal, who is 18-years-old and originally from Tanzania, remarked, “The great part of it was meeting all those different artists who had all those great ideas. I learned something today. Thanks.” Graffiti Artists for a Positive Cause are the legendary JameStop, Two, KinGBee, Hops, Vase, P-funk, Swerve, Crip, and Seon.

Jette recollects, “As I was driving the kids back to Bridgeport that night, Chris an 8-year-old from the DRC said, ‘Aimee, when’s the next event?’ That’s when I knew it was a success. When the kids have a good time, you can bet we’ll do it again.”

The enthusiasm for the mural continues.  Dana Walker of the Trailer Box Project explains how she has been “deeply affected” by the “powerful work” and how it has reinforced her core belief that “art is a medium for change in our troubled world.” She invites people to come view the mural for themselves at 15 Great Pasture Road in Danbury.  

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Art in Common, Inc. is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; EIN 81-2155669.

You can also send checks made out to Art in Common, Inc. and mail to:
Art in Common, Inc.
P.O. Box 839
Ridgefield, CT. 06877