Paragon Charter Academy fourth- through eighth-grade students recently attended Jackson’s 2019 Bright Walls mural festival. Bright Walls is a public art and mural festival that hosts 14 artists from around the world. Throughout the festival, Bright Walls showcased the artists’ talents alongside musicians, local artists, and other community organizations.
During the trip, students were able to ask the artists questions and watch them finish creating their murals. The day provided students the opportunity to eat lunch and walk around downtown to see the murals and watch the artists painting.
“Bright Walls Jackson is an amazing event that I have been able to help students and parents be a part of,” said Dana Van Sumeren, art teacher at Paragon Charter Academy. “It is a fantastic event that is revolutionizing downtown.”
Students were surprised when they had the chance to meet Ouizi, a Detroit artist who was in the process of completing her second mural in Jackson. She was the first mural artist to come to Bright Walls in 2018, the year that helped spark student’s interest in the festival. Ouizi signed several empty spray cans for the students and posed for a few pictures.
“I love the fact that people can watch the creation of art from beginning to end, and the fact that art is accessible to all,” said Van Sumeren. “Art builds a culture of community and it is important for me to teach that to my students.”
Bright Walls provide an opportunity for artists to present their panels to students and teachers, followed by a Q&A session. This year, Paragon was able to visit two artist panels. Nearly 40 students and their families participated in the day to enjoy being part of Bright Walls.
“The artist panels are a wonderful component for my students to listen, observe, ask, and be inspired. Overall, due to the timing of Bright Walls, it is a wonderful beginning to a school year full of enthusiasm for the power of visual arts,” said Van Sumeren.