Art doesn’t always have to be complicated to make a difference.  For example, the simple act of kids gathering together to paint a mural in or near their school can teach them all valuable lessons about art and life. And that is what Groundswell stands for, creating a space for children to express themselves through their art.

Robyne Walker-Murphy joined In Focus to talk about the valuable work Groundswell has done, with over 500 murals in schools throughout the five boroughs, created by the students themselves. 

But, she says, this is not just about art, it is about social justice, and the student-artists are permitted to express themselves through the causes the believe in.  She also addresses the controversy over one Groundswell project, a mural created by five students at PS 295 in Park Slope, Brooklyn which was ordered removed by the principal of MS 443, which shares the space over concerns that it might be “divisive”. 

Taking down that mural caused a, well, groundswell of anger among students and parents at the school which, by the way, is called “The Studio School of Arts and Culture” that apologies from both principals has not quelled.  Walker-Murphy talks about the removal of the mural, and the idea that students should feel supported as they create art with a social justice message.