• Jeane Cohen

Refugees Explore "Safety" Through Tape Mural


Full view of the classroom-size tape-art mural, which dealt with themes of healing and safety.

Safety

BuildaBridge's Families Group at Nationalities Service Center (NSC) is doing a curriculum on safety. The purpose of the activity this class was to foster participants’ awareness of their own ability to rise up in the face of instability and make change. Participants were prompted to use tape as a tool to draw a temporary mural. Staff set the stage of the mural by drawing on the wall with painter's tape, drawing a storm with clouds, lightning and rain. Participants were prompted to draw images of items, people and scenarios that they wanted to keep safe and protected in their life and in the box of safety, under the storm on the wall. The instructors then metaphorically “exposed” the things in the safety box by removing the tape barrier between the storm and the box. Participants then taped onto the mural ways of staying safe in the storm. They depicted umbrellas, shelters, and windshield wipers. They then taped on those “ways of staying safe” between the storm clouds and the box of safety. In closing participants reflected on their ability to make change and be resilient in the face of uncontrollable circumstances.

The mural depicted scenes from nature

Healing

In a previous and similar activity, we made a healing garden out of tape. Participants were asked to plant seeds in the ground of the garden by drawing them with tape. They were then prompted to add sprouts to the seeds and so on until the seeds grew into trees, flowers, and vegetables. Participants were also able to contribute to the garden by caring for the garden itself, by making sure it had water and sunlight.

I learned about making art out of tape when I worked on a few projects with a group called Tape Art in Providence RI. Using tape is great for community engagement because there are many different ways to draw and create with tape, and no predetermined expectation. Its flexibility makes it a great therapeutic medium to work with.

Project Team:

Lead Teaching Artist - Jeane Cohen

Assistant Teaching Artist - Mimi Scalia

Volunteer - Hayley Stricker

A detail of the tape mural including a watering can for the garden


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