A Mural Driven Legacy

Over a decade of helping students make their mark at P.S. 034

15 Years of Murals at PS/MS 34

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Nine Murals Later

A full view of the mural.

Aptly named, Make Your Mark, the newest mural at P.S. 034 Franklin D. Roosevelt illustrates a community that empowers its students to follow their dreams. Thrive Collective’s flagship mural location, P.S. 034, was the first school to participate in a mural project way back in 2007, before we were even called Thrive! 

Though we’ve expanded all across the city, Thrive still holds fast to its roots. Fifteen years later and we are still lucky enough to be helping students make their mark through our murals program at P.S. 034. This will be our ninth mural project at the school thanks to the hard work of teaching artists Sarah Mellon and Peach Tao!

The Jaguar Legacy

Students in process on the mural

Students make their mark on the new mural. Photo: Savannah Zambrano

Sarah Mellon, the Art Director for this project, said the imagery of the mural shows the school mascot, the jaguar, navigating the city with paint on its paws, making its mark wherever it walks. Sarah used the jaguar bounding across the city to symbolize the soon-to-be graduate middle schoolers going out and making an impact on the city.

In addition to honoring the student’s path, the mural is meant to symbolize the relationship between Thrive, P.S. 034, and the act of artistic creation as a way to leave a place-based legacy. The mural was completed with 7th and 8th-grade students in collaboration with a School’s Out New York City (SONYC) after-school program. 

Anthony Santos, Community School Director at P.S. 034, explained how important partnerships with organizations like Thrive are to creating a supportive environment for students. Santos works with University Settlement, a partner to the school since  2014. During that time, University Settlement began engaging the school’s students through SONYC after-school programming. Through their partnership, they helped connect students to enrichment opportunities such as Thrive’s mural program.

However, our connection to the school stretches back even further. “Since 2007, students have produced 150,000 square feet of public art all over New York City because of students at this school,” said Thrive founder Jeremy Del Rio during the mural ribbon cutting.

Sarah Mellon posing with the wrapped up canvas

Sarah with the mural, wrapped up and ready for a big reveal!

Art on the Move

Sarah, Peach, and their P.S. 034 students painted the Make Your Mark mural on portable canvas, which makes it particularly unique. While the mural will post up in the school entrance hallway, Principal Bryan Glover explained that it will also travel to P.S.034 events around the community. 

Jezabelle, a staff member at P.S. 034 who attended the school herself, shared how much she enjoyed working on the mural with the students. “At P.S. 034, we’re like one big family, everyone looks out for one another.” 

Special thanks to Council member Carlina Rivera, NYC DYCD, NYC DCLA, and Abounding Grace Ministries for making this project possible and thank you P.S. 034 for your continued partnership! 

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