Newark Library Blog

Free2Paint at the Newark Library by beedwards
Friday, March 18, 2011, 4:20 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Alameda County is celebrating “Art IS Education” events throughout March 2011 at various locations. On Saturday, March 12th over 120 people gathered to work on a wooden tile mural for the Children’s area of the Newark Library. Art IS Education focuses on teaching youth in Alameda County how they can create “Expressing creative solutions through the arts that communicate how we can take care of ourselves, each other, and the planet.”

I created the project after creating a mural in the Teen area of the Newark Library with teens from Newark Memorial High over the summer of 2010. Many of the children in the community were interested in making their own artwork for the library after seeing all of the hard work done by the Teens. I wanted to involve as many people in the community that I could so that we could reflect all of the voices that do not often get chances to create public art.

We worked with paint left over from other projects, paint purchased at East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse in Oakland, and wooden panels from Home Depot that were destined for the scrap pile. The project consists of 100+ individual tiles that children and teens were able to paint in a way that expressed themselves, their culture, sustainability, or the community. Many people showed up to paint four large panels which will be mounted together and displayed above the picturebooks. The larger panels were painted in a communal style, with children and teens helping each other paint in a cohesive manner to create one image for their community. Once finished, all of the individual tiles will be mounted together to create a large mosaic of images representing the diversity of cultures in Newark.

The Library is a perfect spot for public art, as it fits the Library’s mission to educate, inspire, and to be involved with the community. Having youth create art for the Library gives them a sense of ownership

and connection in their community. The event was also sponsored by the Optimist Club of the Newark; a group that declares that they are dedicated to “bringing out the best in kids.” The group was very interested in contributing to youth in the community and focusing on ways to empower them in various projects. When they learned that the artwork would be created by Newark children and displayed in the children’s area of the Newark Library they were excited to contribute to making sure the program was a success.

Art IS Education is the Alliance for Arts Learning Leadership in partnership with the Alameda County Office of Education and the Alameda County Arts Commission. For more information, or a list of events, check their website at


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