Harper City

The Market Mural that envisions a healthy marketplace supported by better agriculture and infrastructure in the region is completed.  Featured are some of the favorite fruits, vegetables, meat and fish the participants would like to see in their communities.  The quotes Bottles of gasoline for sale in front of one of many un-renovated buildings burnt during the civil war, Harper City, Liberia, 2010. (From left) Janet and Agnes, both age 11, take turns demonstrating how to draw a face, R.D. Kuman Elementary School, Harper City, Liberia, May 2011. (From left) Abraham, age 12, Remeo, age 13, and Augustone, age 8, select which art piece they like the most from a wide selection of styles and periods during a session that introduced participants to art, R.D. Kuman Elementary School, Harper City, Liberia, April 2011. Solomon Clifford K, a teacher at Our Lady of Fatima High School, practices teaching participants after attending the teacher training workshop on art held by our partner organization ChildArt Liberia, Our Lady of Fatima High School, A drawing traced from a photograph simplifies the shapes of the figure and is used as a reference for painting on the Market Mural, Harper Main Market, Harper City, Liberia, July 2013. Participants paint a colorful background for the Health Mural, retaining wall of J.J. Dawson Hospital Harper City, Liberia, July 2011. Harper City, Liberia, July 2011. 22.	Joseph, age 15, and Diana, age 17, draw a figure on the Market Mural, Harper Main Market, Harper City, Liberia, June 2011. Celia, age 18, paints a woman dancing that represents a form of energy in the Energy Mural, Old L.E.C. Electric Building, Harper City, Liberia, July 2011. The Culture Mural celebrates Liberian culture that the community arts council believes should be encouraged, reinvented, and revitalized. Featured front and center is girls' education.  Old Cinema Building, Harper City, Liberia, July 2011. Precious, who regularly stopped to observe or help with the painting when she had time off from selling small goods in the street, watches the Health Mural being completed, Harper City, Liberia, July 2011.

  • About This Project

    Visions of Hope: Revitalizing a Liberian Community Through Art took place in one of the most desolate and isolated regions of Liberia. This project fostered community activism, cultural revitalization, and youth participation in the arts to transform a war-torn town. We started this project based on the idea of how difficult it is to live in a place that constantly serves as a reminder of the traumas of war.

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    Visions of Hope: Revitalizing a Liberian Community Through Art
    Harper, Liberia
    April – August 2011

    In Harper, a small town in the epicenter of the conflict, every third or fourth building is a burnt-out structure that looks exactly as it did when Liberia’s fourteen-year civil war finally ended in 2003. This town exemplifies the overwhelming challenges that Liberians currently face in the reconstruction of their country. This project was designed to give the residents and youth of Harper a chance to step away from this difficult reality and imagine something different, and then display it publically. During five months, Colors of Connection created a local arts committee made up of community leaders and brought together fifty-six youth (28 females and 28 males) from eight local schools.

    Together we partnered with the community to mobilize a transformational processes that turned this war-torn landscape into one that expressed hope in the future of Harper and Liberia as a whole through the creation of four murals based on the following themes: better agriculture and a healthier market; healthier communities; bringing energy and electricity; positive local culture of Harper and the importance of education for children and girls.

    Under the guidance of the local arts committee fifty-six youth had the opportunity to engage creatively in transforming their home town into a positive visualization of the change Liberians want to see in their lives and country. Art is not taught in schools and children and youth have little to no opportunities to engage in creative activities. This project encouraged Liberian youths’ capacity for personal achievement through self-expression and creativity, while enhancing their civic interest and engagement and fostering their role as positive contributors to society. This is especially pertinent as art is healing and therapeutic, and is proven to build self-confidence and to

    In May 2011, while the youth were creating the murals around town, the Director of ChildArt Liberia, a local non-profit based in Monrovia, joined us to hold a three-day teacher-training workshop for eight teachers from eight local schools to teach the importance of using art in the classroom and techniques for teaching the arts. In June 2011, the youth participants created a portable mural to be part of a multimedia show in September 2011 for the International Day of Peace with the international children’s mural movement: Art Miles Mural Project. This provided these Liberian youth with an exciting opportunity to take part in a larger international youth mural

    In August 2011, thirty-five youth proud youth graduated from the project in a public celebration. We believe that these four murals were a catalyst for the growth of imagination and hope, which are essential to the rehabilitation and rejuvenation of the Liberian population. This project was carried out with the support of the local government and community leaders in Harper, and in partnership with a local Liberian arts organization, ChildArt Liberia. It was fiscally sponsored by the Creative Visions Foundation. Visions of Hope: Revitalizing a Liberian Community Through Art will be featured in the upcoming documentary Beyond the Walls.

  • Multimedia

    The Post-War Environment
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    Harper City Participant Artwork
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    Harper City Project Photos
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    Harper Project Vignette
    Market Mural Video
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