A multicultural mural project, led by district translator, artist and Determined Art Movement (D.A.M.) member Elena Valdés Chavarría, will be co-created with the voice, cultural archetypes and counter stories of the community. This project will involve community partners, students and their families in the development and completion of a mural that will be displayed outside the district’s Welcome Center, located at the Western View Building.
The collective mural will provide students a hands-on, experiential opportunity to design and create a work of art that represents the mosaic of cultures and languages in our district, building a sense of belonging. Students and families will be involved in all aspects of the mural design, from creation to application. It will also provide a platform to engage and involve minoritized communities, such as members of the Mam, Latinx, Arabic, Muslim, African-American and Indigenous communities. The mural represents an opportunity to honor our community’s depth of knowledge, portraying counter stories that reveal the richness and diversity of cultures, languages and histories. The mural will be a symbol of unity that bridges the district’s equity efforts with our diverse community.
About the Artists
The collective mural project is led by Elena Valdés Chavarría, a translator for the district and member of Determined Art Movement (D.A.M).
The artist team who created the Determined Art Movement come from different parts of the world and met in Oregon. After the successful completion of a collective mural project at the Centro Cultural Cesar Chavez on the Oregon State University campus, they formed a non-profit assuming themselves as members of a larger fight for self-determination and the reclaiming of a community’s histories and cultures.
Since 2014, their collective murals have created opportunities for community engagement and partnerships in the United States, India, Malaysia, Mexico and Ecuador. Their inspirational vision emerges from vibrant stories merging into the present to open dialogues revolving on global issues at a local level. Their absolute call to create through paint relies on the cathartic qualities of art as a tool to heal and build communities; an ability innate in everyone. Their motivation comes from their love of public mural art as they acknowledge it a universal language.
The purpose of D.A.M. is to bridge art with equity actions in creating safe, brave spaces that facilitate positive community synergy. With the collective mural project, the artists, along with district students and families, will co-create an artistic expression of our district’s journey towards a more equitable future.
Bringing the Community Together
A number of meetings have taken place over the last four months including three community gatherings, two sessions at College Hill, a presentation to the Garfield PTA, and a workshop at the Welcome Center. During these meetings, parents and students helped each other to understand the impact of multiple welcoming manifestations they need to experience, as they become members of the community of the Corvallis School District.
By creating safe spaces for dialogue and engagement, numerous ideas and sketches have emerged. This process consisted on the conscious decision of the group to ignite the force of the mural’s image through multiple perspectives and testimonies.
This project is being funded through a Corvallis Public Schools Foundation Learning Enrichment Grant. Thank you to all the artists, students, parents, families, and community members who have contributed to the mural.