Norwegian American Weekly: “Spectacular” Art, but “More Valuable” Collaboration

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The Norwegian American Weekly newspaper featured the “Generations” mural in print and online last week.

About the artwork itself, author Victoria Hofmo writes:

“This fine tradition of connecting art to public schools is continuing through 20/20 Vision for Schools. … The most recent mural project, ‘Generations’ was unveiled on the lawn at the Norwegian Christian Home & Health Center (NCH) on May 14, 2014. The artistic result is spectacular, but the collaborative process that birthed the piece is even more valuable. …

“The way that the piece is physically layered and crafted… makes an abstract idea — the layers of history and memory representing those who reside, have resided, and will reside in this Home — into something more than tangible, into a concrete part of the artwork, is truly brilliant and beautiful. This succeeds on all levels: the piece’s symbols, its design, and the technique chosen.”

About the personal nature of the project for 20/20’s executive director Jeremy Del Rio:

Del Rio also has a special connection to the Home. He explains, “On a personal level, the project at NCH was special because my Norwegian immigrant grandparents came to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, when they immigrated to the US in the 1930s, and were active members of the Norwegian community that built the home a century ago. The mural honors their legacy, and continues it by welcoming their new immigrant neighbors as the neighborhood continues to change.”

About 20/20’s community partner, the Storefront Art Center, the article quotes Storefront director Pastor Paul Curtis:

“The Storefront is a local art center that initially connected 20/20 Vision for School with Sam Wisneski for the ‘Welcome’ mural project at PS 102. We have continued to provide volunteer support over the last three years, including a regular volunteer to assist Sam with the students on this project. … We love Jeremy Del Rio’s vision for partnering with neighborhood stakeholders for the sake of raising the quality of education in our neighborhoods.”

About the impact of the mural on the Norwegian Home itself, the article quotes board member Arlene Bakke Rutuelo:

“As the saying goes, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words.’ You really have to take the time and go and see the mural in person. It is truly beautiful and captures the spirit the Norwegian Home embodies—community service in its past, in its present, and in its future.”

About the impact of the mural on the students who created it, Storefront director Paul Curtis observed:

“I was blown away by the quality of the mural, but what impressed me the most is the pride that the students had in the finished project. They worked hard and put in many hours outside of their normal school assignments to complete the project. This is the kind of project that both builds confidence in students and helps them to see how their gifts and talents can be given back to make meaningful contributions to their community.”

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