Students at Whittier Elementary kicking off community mural festival

Students at an Albuquerque school need help from the community to pull off a new event.

Kids at Whittier Elementary will create five murals across campus starting this weekend, but organizers need people to lead teams and run activities.

It’s a passion project at Whittier Elementary. The school near Kathryn and San Mateo is holding its first mural festival this weekend. It’s where students can work together to transform the school while working alongside fellow community members.

We have donations coming in and support from all over and it’s been a really wonderful thing to see that the community does want to make a difference and everyone does want to make this possible, said Melinda Forward, Creative Director at Kindness Club International, a non-profit spearheading the event at Whittier.

Kicking off Saturday and running through the following week, community members can make a donation or come out between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to help the kids paint murals around the school.

If we can get others to join in, paint with the kids, the kids can interact with our community members, we want them to have that opportunity, so anybody can come out, please, said Katrice Grant, a school counselor at Whittier Elementary.

The reach of the project is going beyond the school, inspiring others to do the same in their own communities.

There’s already been schools who have expressed interest so it’s bigger than just our school, said Grant. I think that’s just as important. It’s not just about impacting our community. It’s about creating inspiration and impacting other communities.

The root of the project is empowering kids at a young age, opening a world of opportunities for them.

Seeing kids get so excited about having this opportunity, is what makes it all worth it. For them to say, ‘we get to be the leaders?’ said Forward. If we can teach them that at a young age, that’s going to open all sorts of worlds for them in the future and then they’ll have connections with community members that can help support their dreams as they go forward.

It’s a powerful lesson, starting with the stroke of a brush.

Organizers stress that no matter how old a community member is, they have a place and purpose at Whittier.

The project is 100-percent community funded. On Friday, March 29, there will be a benefit concert from 6-8 p.m. offering a sneak preview to the murals, food and live music. Tickets are available online and at the door.

The following day, March 30, starting at 10 a.m. there will be a free event for all ages to celebrate the new murals, offering arts and crafts, entertainment, muraling on the Kindness Tree, live music, face painting and more. The event is expected to wrap up at 5 p.m.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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