This past weekend over 100 street artists banded together to give the “worst school” in New York an inspiring makeover
August Martin High School, located in Jamaica Queens, was once labeled the “worst school” in New York with a graduation rate of 39 %. In hopes of beautifying the school, the school’s Dream Team and administrators sought out 5Pointz to completely transform its halls. Principal Gillian Smith said,
We need to reinvent ourselves and the way to reinvent ourselves is to empower students…the building looks magnificent.”
What prompted this urban renewal was the imagination of August Martin High School’s Dream Team which consists of a group of students guided by “Dream Directors” from the “Future Project,” a national non-profit organization. One of the Dream Team members, 16-year-old Justin, said,
The students said they want to see something they can relate to on the walls…so, we created a project called Operation Skittles to decorate 100% of August Martin’s walls: graffiti, murals, quotes, people, whatever inspired the students to come to school.”
After an unsuccessful attempt to get the student body to decorate the walls themselves, they reached out to 5Pointz. The artists involved in this beautification process included Syreeta Gates, MERES, CUBA, CYCLE,, Phetus, POET, YES1, Cernesto, KING BEE, Plasma Slug,, AMUZE, SHIRO and many more. With mild limitations on the artwork including no pornography or racism, the artists got to work and most created murals with school-related themes. Administrators, the Dream Team and The Future Project hope that the amazing work of these artist will motivate students to come to school and focus on their education. This high school has also contributed to the education of notable people such as Russell Simmons, Kelly Price, and Lloyd Banks. The murals will be available for public viewing June 11th from 4 to 8 pm.