Katherine Gressel
"Mind Over Matter""Resist Violence""Instead of choosing Violence, think about choosing your future""What if I just walk away...Think before you act."
Anti-violence murals, Grady High School
2010, Latex paint on school doors, each approx. 3' X 7'

Through the youth organization STARR, Inc., I worked with three different 9th grade English classes at Grady Technical High School in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, to complete murals for four different classroom doors. These murals were meant to reinforce STARR's conflict-resolution curriculum, taught to the students by a different facilitator. The murals were painted over a period of six weeks. We began with two planning sessions in which students wrote about their own experiences with conflict and conflict resolution, and made sketches and collages of symbols, words, and phrases they associate with causes, consequences, and alternatives to violence: these include calming down, expressing anger in a healthier way (such as participating in sports or martial arts), thinking before you act, and taking the right path towards a more successful future. These ideas were translated into final designs which students helped paint during four remaining class sessions.