Through collaborative Integrated Arts Projects/Proyecto de Arte Integrado (IAP), teaching artists partner with academic facilitators and students at El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice and its community partner, El Puente, to create interdisciplinary, theme-based arts projects that produce high quality, original artwork that promotes human rights and social action. These year-long projects have included investigations into themes of legacy, immigration, health & wellness, technology, the history and impact of the sugar industry, biodiversity, gentrification, the cost of war, the role of borders in our lives, and other topics. Members of Los Muralistas have been involved in the project design and the facilitation of the creation of the visual arts components of these projects since their inception in 1995.
A year long investigation that included interviews with Dominican and Brooklyn based sweatshop workers and investigations into working conditions in sweatshops locally and globally as well as how fashion and advertising create a culture based on materialism and unhealthy perceptions of body image.
Members of Los Muralistas and a group of Brooklyn youth traveled to the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico where they collaborated with other young people from Vieques to create and fly kites over a U.S. military site on the island. This project was led by Miguel Luciano.
The 2004 IAP showcase was based on the year's investigation of themes for Homer's Illiad. The play included Sicilian style marionettes as the greek chorus in original adaptation of segments of the poem based on honor and revenge, all set in the Marcy Housing Projects.
In collaboration with Great Small Works, students and Los Muralistas created an original musical with projected toy theater interludes about the challenges of growing up in Brooklyn in the early 21st Century. The theme for this showcase was chosen in conjunction with a group of veteran actors from the senior class of the Academy.
A year-long investigation into the growing rates of obesity and diabetes that are disproportionately affecting poor black and Latino communities. The performance integrated the Los Muralistas mural, "Bushwhacked," with imagery generated in a freshman science class that looked at the Bush administration's environmental record. In addition to the mural, the students created the first community garden plots in the Espiritu Tierra garden and invited passers by to claim plots.
This project was based on the idea of legacy in the lives of students. Work included the first interviews of community residents as part of the "Voces de Los Sures" (Voices of the Southside) project and a performance of student poetry, dance and music derived from their reflections on the theme of legacy.
As a visual element in the 2013 Carnavale Showcase, students reenact historical paintings with themselves in positions of power. Some of these photos were printed life-size for dramatic effect. The photo above is titled: "Ford Crossing the East River."
El Puente ESI Class
Dario XVI King of South Williamsburg, 2013 (left) Joseph Siffred, Louis XVI King of in Coronation Robes France in Coronation Robes, 1777 (right)