SHARP Literacy has partnered with Neighborhood House of Milwaukee to create a permanent mosaic bench for Neighborhood House Garden Park. The project involved the participation of students enrolled in SHARP Literacy’s eight-week Summer Learning Gain Initiative, which was offered at nine urban locations throughout Milwaukee.
The “Urban Agriculture” bench project was inspired by SHARP Literacy’s 12th We Love to Learn book, There Grows the Neighborhood: Agriculture in the City, written in collaboration with Will Allen, founder and CEO of Growing Power. Led by Milwaukee artist Sally Duback, the bench project is one of four permanent works of art created during SHARP Literacy’s 2016 summer program. In addition to the Urban Agriculture bench, Sally Duback and SHARP students at Journey House, Silver Spring Neighborhood Center and Our Next Generation conceptualized and designed door-sized mosaic murals.
The six-foot concrete bench is fashioned with a myriad of colorful tile nature-inspired images, such as flowers, leaves, insects and the sun. The design also includes tile “selfies” students created, as well as a tile house, symbolizing the various neighborhoods in which students live. The Urban Agriculture bench sits adjacent to SHARP Literacy’s “Drop to Dinner” mural, which was installed in Neighborhood House Garden Park in August, 2015.
The bench project is one of 20 public works of art created by students participating in the SHARP Literacy program over the past 20 years. Installed at various locations throughout Milwaukee, these curriculum-based art projects are part of the organization’s outside-the-classroom educational experience, which also includes educational tours of area museums, as well as student participation in researching and writing We Love to Learn books. For more information, visit www.sharpliteracy.org.
SHARP Literacy, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) Milwaukee nonprofit educational program whose mission is to enhance future life success by energizing urban children, motivating them to identify themselves as confident, capable scholars and lifelong learners by inspiring engagement in reading, writing and research through hands-on interaction and visual arts. The primary goal of SHARP Literacy is to provide elementary school students with an imaginative learning experience that builds confidence, self-esteem, and a greater awareness of the world. This year SHARP Literacy, Inc. will impart foundational literacy skills to over 8,000 elementary school students in 36 of Milwaukee’s most at-risk schools. For more information, visit www.sharpliteracy.org.