Fresh Start at REALM Charter School

TCMP students, work in progress.

True Colors is the public murals program based at Berkeley City College, fiscally sponsored by Earth Island Institute, and directed by Juana Alicia Araiza. Through Juana Alicia’s Mural Design and Creation 
classes, True Colors creates one or more public murals 
every year with social and environmental justice themes.

True Colors’ 2011-2012 Mural Project is a collaboration with the REALM Charter School, located in West Berkeley. REALM is a project-based, technology-rich learning environment that immerses their teachers and students in authentic virtual learning environments that require collaboration, inquiry, critical thinking, ingenuity, and imagination.

This year’s project is to create an environmental “Game Board” themed mural with a virtual game component.  This concept is to expand the mural‘s online presence which allows students to write stories, illustrate and create animations of how to actually play the game. The mural displaysnarratives of nationally recognized, young environmental leaders intermingled with real and imagined scenarios. These scenes illustrate communities working towards environmental sustainability. The muralists are collaborating with REALM’s students to research, design and paint the new mural and create the virtual board game. All students participated in community surveys, oral histories, and site-based research to develop the content, form and aesthetics of the mural. The research and design are close to completion, and the unveiling will take place on June 2012.

True Colors’ “Fresh Start” mural and its virtual component can only be completed through direct human interaction.  This project involves community to navigate complex information utilizing emerging technologies. The audience/participants not only view the mural, but also play with the design that becomes an actual living experience and on-line journey. The environmental issues and messages chosen impact people’s everyday lives and encourage the community to take positive social action. Imagine landing on square that leads you to learn about lead poisoning issues and solutions in West Berkeley.  “Playing” will educate the students and community about ideas and practices leading to environmental sustainability. We intend that, through this project, all participants will recognize and activate their ability to shape our world and to better humanity.