24-hour Food Security Data Mural Painting!

Well, we didn’t actually paint for 24 hours, but we did start the painting at 1:00 on Wednesday and finish at 1:00 on Thursday.  With volunteers each coming for two hours, we painted until 6:00 on Wednesday and began again at 10:00 on Thursday.  All in all, very impressive!

photo 2-3

photo 1-2

We turned the fabric into a banner that can be carried in a parade, hung on the wall or hung from a tent at festivals.  We also added a background design that resembles a tree’s growth rings, with the width of each ring being proportional to the percentage of Somerville’s population living below the Federal Poverty level each year from 2007-2012.  The final result is eye-catching and information-rich. The group hopes that it will let people who are not food insecure learn that hunger is an issue in Somerville, and will provide resources for people who are themselves experiencing hunger.

photo 3-2

 photo 2 copy

Lessons learned:

1. People are excited about a moveable mural.  We’ll see how well we do at displaying it well and not having it spend too much time folded on a shelf.

2. Having a wall, with permission to paint it, in advance would have helped (yes, all of my muralist friends did tell me that, but I was starry-eyed about this one and thought that the strong connections of the coalition members would make finding a wall simple).

3. The many months (nearly a year)  between the design process and the painting process meant that the design was questioned and revisited many times. Although only minimal changes were ultimately made, it would have been easier to paint soon after the design.

4. Painting indoors is certainly easier than worrying about the weather

5. It’s great to have volunteers rolling through in groups.

6. Being able to leave the supplies in the painting space overnight made the logistics SO much easier.

7. Fabric medium added to acrylic paint is quite a bit less expensive than theatre paint. This mural was painted on a budget and it seems to have worked.  re-used exterior latex enamel, fabric medium, a synthetic fabric base, and old tarps made it quite affordable.

And now we’ll find out how the mural is received by the public and whether it accomplishes what the Somerville Food Security Coalition hopes.  As we gather evaluation results I’ll share them here.

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