East Harlem school gets new mural made by students


EAST HARLEM, Manhattan — It was full circle moment for some East Harlem students, going back to their community and bringing a new mural to a pre-K school in the heart of their neighborhood.

A massive mural unveiled at 116th Street off of 1st Avenue. The art installation took four months to complete. It’s 6 feet high and 80 feet wide, on the front wall of the only bilingual head start program in East Harlem.

The painters are all students, like 19-year-old Lindsey guallpa, who went to school nearby.

“I would always walk by on my way to school… now you helped create it. I feel happy about it,” she said.

The mural is called “Look Up to the Sky,” designed by Dionis Ortiz, an artist born and raised in Harlem. His work is featured right now in the Trienal at el Museo de Barrio.

Ortiz hopes the children who see it everyday will be moved.

His creation was painted by these teen painters. Thanks to a group called Publicolor — an organization that helps NYC’s high risk students in under-served communities create artwork in public places.  

Publicolor has been creating art for 25 years in homeless shelters, schools, parks, and subway stations all across the city. This mural is the sixth piece in Publicolor’s community museum initiative bringing the power of visual beauty to the streets.

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