Art & Sustainability in the Dominican Republic

Santiago Youth Painting


This blog post was written by Joel Bergner, one of the lead artists for MuralsEngage Reciclada, and can be found in full text here.

“We all met on the first day for the introductory workshop, in which we explored important issues in the lives of the youth and environmental problems affecting the community. We got to know one another through activities and games, and had a group discussion about the imagery and themes we would paint in our mural. Our young participants were full of energy and ideas, and took their responsibility seriously to design a public work of art that reflected their perspectives, opinions, and identity. By the end of the day, after an intensive sketching session, we put everyone’s ideas together into one cohesive design.”

“Upon arrival at our wall, we realized how enormous it was. It was the outside wall of the school, facing a prison on the other side of the street. We got to work painting our mural, a process that took two weeks under intense Caribbean sun, sudden torrential downpours, and joyous moments of creativity and human connection.  Our sculpture, known as the “boatstrument,” or “barcostrumento,” was integrated into the overall mural, and functioned as a percussion instrument, complete with drum sticks attached by wires. Everyone had a blast creating it, and it will now live on in the community as a permanent interactive work of art.”

“Max and I congratulated the youth, reminding them that they can continue to accomplish big things in life if they work hard and join together with their peers to achieve positive change. We all headed out to view our complete mural and have one last jam session, led by our partner artists and percussionist, D-Troya Lion. As we said our good-byes to our new friends, we were proud of everyone’s accomplishments, though sad that our time together was coming to an end. Muchas gracias to everyone at Meridian, Centro León, the US Embassy, the San Pedro Nolasco School, the local artists and all the incredible students for making this project such a success!”