Earlier this year, Southeastern High School students got an amazing opportunity to create a mural through participation in the Heidelberg Project, “a public art environment in the heart of an urban area, and also a Detroit-based community organization with a mission to improve the lives of people and neighborhoods through art,” according to the project’s brochure.
Bettye Foster, Southeastern counselor, made this amazing experience possible. She is also an artist and wanted the students to experience life and through art.
“I know that Art as a creative process and is both healing and life enhancing,” said Foster. “I was involved with the Heidelberg project a few years ago and I saw first hand how it affected the students. The introverts came alive.”
Working with Southeastern students from the project were Anya Dennis and Keisa Davis. Their goal was to let students create a mural and get an overall sense of what art is and how it can be interpreted. The students experienced the world of art and learned how the world itself -- buildings, landscapes and other visuals -- is art.
Dennis and Davis took the participating students to a tour around Detroit to view numerous paintings and murals in the city. Dennis, Davis and other important members of the Heidelberg Project answered questions. Seeing the murals gave students an idea of what they could create. They also met an artist who shared where their inspiration comes from and how they express the ideas in art.
The students also saw Heidelberg Project and the creator of the project Tyree Guyton. The field trip was a good experience for the students to see the complexity and beauty of Detroit through art.
The students who created the mural titled “ROAD TO SUCCESS,” were Khalifa Stokes, Kareem Powell, Terry Edwards, Diamond Grey, Destiny Grey, Stephon Horton, Azia Isaac , Eric Pruitt, Artez Rodgers, KeAsia Mayers, Sharday Barnett, and Lydell Smith.
The mural is a depiction of the road to success for Southeastern High School students. The mural includes quotes such as “how to choose your path,” “roadblocks,” and “opportunities.” These sayings represent positive and negative aspects in a student’s life; it’s up to students to choose whether they make it to success or not.
Students in the project worked collectively to construct the mural and paint the wall. The goal of the mural was to “empower students through arts and social justice projects that cultivate potential and inspire active leadership,” according to the project’s brochure.
“For those students experiencing difficulties and painful life events, and cannot express themselves, ART offers a safe supportive environment,” said Foster. “Art allows students to express themselves imaginatively, authentically and spontaneously. There is no judgement.”