Over the past decades the European Union has put in place a broad range of environmental legislation. As a result, air, water and soil pollution has significantly been reduced. Chemicals legislation has been modernised and the use of many toxic or hazardous substances has been restricted. However, many challenges persist and these must be tackled together in a structured way.
The 34th Street Wall Mural Contest is a public art project for Alachua County high school students. Supported and funded by The Center for European Studies at the University Of Florida and The European Union. The goal of this project is to promote sustainability and promote positive change to our natural world through a public art movement. All participants are Alachua County High School students. Each student submitted a design that references topics such as; Climate change, clean air, clean energy, Promoting repurposing/recycling/re-using, Protecting our natural world as a whole. Five students have been chosen to paint their designs on a section of the 34th street Graffiti wall, three students out of the five will win cash prizes after the designs are completed in the space.
This Project is an amazing opportunity to allow a younger generation to participate in the power of public art. These students are young, thriving in creative skills and eager to express their thoughts visually. This project allows the students to combine their talents with an educational and universally important concept. It takes them out of the class room, out of the academic mind set, and into the real world. A world that desperately needs their voices visually represented. Students see their sketches and doodles in a larger than life form; painted on a wall that cars pass by everyday. As a multimedia artist who’s goal is to promote awareness about our natural surroundings through reusing orphaned materials, I couldn’t be happier to head up a project like this. Its so awesome and powerful to see teenagers out on the street expressing themselves in this way.
Jenna Horner, head artist and aesthetic director of the project
My name is Cheyanne Renea Lund and I am originally from Iowa City, Iowa. The idea of my work surrounded the impact humans leave on the earth and the other animals that we share it with. Hopefully people notice the image itself and understand that’s not always how a bird is supposed to look! Anyone with the right mind knows for a fact no animal should ever be wrapped up in electrical cords. I aim to inflict a morbid image to push people to think about the footprint they leave. This was the first time I have ever been given the chance to paint on a wall! It was a lot of hard work for the five hours I was there. It’s something I would definitely do again in the future for a cause I may get behind. The experience itself was enjoyable due to the organization there to help and guide. I, myself, enjoy painting in general and would do it in solitude, but friends always make things better! In the future I would appreciate anything having to do with art. Whether that be doing commissions, an art educator, mural artist, graphic designer, really whatever!
I’m sophomore. I’ve been drawing since I was 6 so about 9 years in total. My idea behind the piece was to demonstrate life. With a girl being surrounded by flowers and the moon–symbolizing life. I was hoping people will realize that they are surrounded by life and protect it. This action will help our planet as hopefully society would stop littering, polluting, and recycle to help our planet. This was my first experience painting a mural, and it was awesome. I’ve never painted on a wall nor anything near that scale so to be able to accomplish it, makes me feel very satisfied. Painting a mural has given me a different view on being a muralist/street artist and I may experiment with it; but, I still think being an illustrator fits me more.
I am 16 years old and have been taking art classes in school since I can remember. Art has always been a passion of mine and this opportunity was perfect! The idea of my work was to embody nature so that we could see the Beauty of her more clearly. She is the protector of our Earth and therefore, should not be harmed. She sits on a lotus flower which represents purity and cradles the earth in a motherly way. In her stance protecting it. I believe it could help our planet by drawing more attention to the wellbeing of our earth. In a more graphic way, she could be shown sick because of our actions. But to see the beauty in nature is what was most important in this project. This was my first experience painting on the wall and it was so much fun! Everyone was putting off positive energy and it made the whole experience unforgettable. It’s much different working on such a large canvas but that makes it more exciting! After this experience I am making it a plan to visit the wall frequently to paint more. I would love to evolve my skills in mural painting and become a successful street artist.
My name is Yazmin Rodriguez and I come from a Puerto Rican family. I have attended two schools of the arts in the past (Bak MSOA and Dreyfoos), I am currently and proudly attending F.W. Buchholz High School, and I want to study medical science in the future. The idea of my work was to depict the variety and importance of marine biodiversity that the European Union strives to preserve. Oceans make up the majority of our Earth and are the biggest providers of the oxygen we breathe. Protecting this vast ecosystem is key to maintaining the health of our world as a whole. This was my first experience painting on the 34th Street Wall. It was exciting to paint for the cars passing by and to be encouraged by everyone around me. It was exhausting but worth it to see the work that many people helped me to complete. I would not want to be muralist in the future. I have newfound respect for all the local muralists in Gainesville; its a messy job that requires a great attitude as well as energy and perseverance.
The last mural is by Coralie Pettit. No comments from the artist.