I have strived to make sure that this future mural in San Miguel not only represents the community, but is derived from within the community. Having this mural be born within the community and not an alien baby plastered on their community space is a huge goal of mine and also a large fear of mine in regards to this project.
This new feature of their community will be something they see multiple times a day, if they want to or not the mural will effect them and their environment. Therefore, having the design and content be something they find beautiful and can associate with positively is key to the success of the mural.
To gather a better understanding of what makes San Miguel, San Miguel and to gather ideas for the content of the mural I became English Teacher for the day. Designed a lesson plan, where I ask the students both children and adults to tell me about San Miguel. I created little “My San Miguel” booklets which asked to name and draw their favorite plants, and animals of San Miguel. They where also asked to describe their parents occupations, activities and passions of the community, and a favorite story from the past both in Spanish and English.
This was my first excursion at being head teacher with children, to be totally honest it was hard. I did not freshen up on my Spanish teacher lingo – therefore I had a rough idea how to say sit down, raise your hand, or listen in Spanish, and I think as soon as the students realized I was winging it was the moment I lost their respect and attention. My brain quickly reacted and started to rely on facial expressions and body language to fill in where my Spanish was failing. When a student was misbehaving I stood closer to him or her and raised my eyebrows, at one point I tried to use “if you can hear me clap once… clap twice” technique, which just looked like I was randomly clapping because I couldn’t clearly express what the clapping meant. Minus the difficulties directing the class, the booklets turned out great, and I think the class liked the activity and it gave me a great place to start dreaming about the content of the mural.
In the adult class we sat in front of the proposed mural location and I asked them what they would like to see in a community mural, they pretty much had the same input as the children. Though one adult, Gustavo, wanted to paint a mural of his birth, then a mural of the face of our community outreach director, Erin Keigher, so that the town would have something to remember her by.
What we decided would be good mural content:
- The river
- The mountains and hills
- The trees – coconut, mango, palms, cashew, banana, and bougainvillea
- The animals – roosters, cows, horses, stray dogs, tropical birds, and big toads
- The people – children, farmers, and mothers
- The church
- The ranchos y fincas
- Soccer, cooking, and farming
- Relationships with nature and God
So with the content brainstorming sessions with the community over, I started a virtual inspiration board on Pinterest. Here you can see some of the images and inspiration behind the design on the mural.
This next week I’ll be focusing on the design of the mural. Get excited and stay tuned, mural design up soon.