Shortly after we had signed up for the Nicaragua Mission trip, the girls and I had some design deliverables that we needed to prepare. An email earlier in the week from the school director gave us some insight as to the current state of the office and classrooms. It was immediately apparent that the school needed some color and uniqueness. As designers, we are used to working within our client’s budget, but this project’s budget was born solely from the donations of ourselves and others. The team and I knew the tremendous undertaking we were about to endure: transforming this school with the shortest supply of resources we’ve ever had at our disposal.
Our team collaborated, discussing the possibilities that could transform a learning space with limited time, money and materials. We knew we wanted to provide something that would inspire and brighten up the otherwise dull walls. Our team collaborated, discussing the possibilities that could transform a learning space with limited time, money and materials. We knew we wanted to provide something that would inspire and brighten up the otherwise dull walls. We decided that we would paint a mural. This way the children of Nicaragua will have a piece of our hearts and art forever. With that I started our inspiration journey. I wanted to create something that would not only be beautiful, but also allow the art to interact with the students. I was inspired by all of the winged street art I’ve seen around the South Florida area. Just down the road from our office there is a beautiful mural of butterflies that we love. If you were to stand in front of them, it would appear as though you’ve suddenly sprouted wings and took to the sky with them. These butterflies are truly magnificent, but we wanted something that related specifically to Nicaragua’s tropical and colorful culture. Then it dawned on me: If we are going to brighten the lives of so many preschoolers, why not do so with a beautiful sun, with beams bursting out from the center. This image said to me, I am unique and beautiful, powerful and energetic. What an incredible message to encourage young children!
A quick napkin sketch was in order and I showed it to the Gems. They loved it! I knew that time was of the essence, so I opted for what would work in our favor: clean lines and simplicity. I threw my napkin sketch into Photoshop and started selecting some paint colors. I sent the colors to get ordered and the team began to gather supplies to pack. Our countdown had started.
When we first arrived at the school it started to hit us. Joy, Jaclyn and myself got to meet Jebon, the director of the Carolina de Sirker school. We presented her with a macrame wall tapestry that my Mom made. The smile on Jebon’s face was absolutely priceless. Seeing how happy our donation made her was absolutely heartwarming. I could not wait to see it hung up in her office.
Judy then gave us a tour of the school and we were able to see the classrooms that we would be painting. With no time to waste we got to work and started taping up the walls. We had three other helpers, so we were able to move fast. Once the mural was taped up, we labeled the sections and the six of us started to paint. Most of the mural was completed on the first day leaving small details to be dealt with on the second. The best part was pulling off the tape and actually getting to see the finished product. The children loved it and called it, “bonito.” We even got to witnessed that see some of the older children had already taken pictures in front of it, just as we intended. I cannot wait to go back next year and see what other differences we can make.