What good can a splash of color do in a community of gray?
When Mira, an artistic young girl starts to draw in a colourless city, ‘her room was filled with color and her heart was filled with joy.’ Mira gives her small gifts of art to her neighbours, brightening their day. She also meets a local artist who invites her to work on a mural. Soon, other join their project and their neighbourhood is transformed through the artwork, in colour, community pride, and attitudes. This story is inspired by the illustrator of this book, who is a muralist. The colours of this book mimic Rafael Lopez’s vivid colours and shapes found in his street murals.
According to A Note from the Authors, this book is based on a true story, about a downtown community in San Diego, California. A husband-wife team of artist and graphic artist turned community leaders moved into the community and helped to transform their neighbourhood through art. Their entire community was invited to participate in creating murals, from children to professionals to homeless people. Painted poems and quotes of famous people brought inspiration to those who lived in their community. Some of their artwork was sold, sponsoring art classes and scholarships for at-risk youth. Their movement spread across North America and into Canada. This book is written in honour of the artists, Rafael and Candice Lopez.
This book is ideal for discussing Citizenship as part of the Alberta Social Studies Curriculum and would provide a discussion by art students of the impact art can have on a community. Grade 1 Social Studies teachers may want to highlight how social action, (small or large) can bring about change in people’s lives and community. It may also be used to inspire a school mural with an artist-in-residence.