Surrounding ourselves with beauty matters. Art Matters. I appreciate the way cities around the world are embracing street art rather than making it a battling ground that diminishes the powerful messages drawn from public displays of creativity and color.
During initial collaboration with Hope for the Day about our Hope Travels partnership, we talked about establishing a program that opens doors to informal, but global conversations about mental health. One tenet of promoting positive mental health was a focus on building a sense of connectedness, group missions, and a sense of larger purpose centered on messages of hope.
Establishing support for local artists to share this universal message seemed like a solid way of creating tangible conversation touchstones while also establishing positive relationships and enduring mental health partnerships. Our aim was not to push an agenda – but to establish conversation spots. Sure enough – plans continue to unfold beyond our hopes with the completion of multiple murals in varied locations and plans for more to come.
As for our initial murals, my role was limited to sitting in awe at the work of local artists and seeking donations for supplies. There is a bursting street art scene in Africa and I was proud to observe some of the talented hands who beautify blank spaces. As we traveled with Sparrow and Rach, I glimpsed firsthand how artists view the world with a lens I don’t own, as they noted empty walls left to fill and closed their eyes to “see” completed masterpieces before their work began.
This collection of Hope Murals can be found throughout Uganda and Rwanda. It would be amazing to have others visit these spots and even more amazing if we could continue this endeavor by supporting local artists in upcoming destinations including Ethiopia, Djibouti, Malawi, Mali, and more.
One of the greatest life lessons I have learned, is to “put ideas out there” and they often come to fruition with surprising, but guided hands. So, if you know any artists in these areas, or would like to sponsor a Hope Mural, please let me know.