It began during the 2014/2015 school year in the French III class at Stephen Decatur High School. A group of students began discussing the world beyond their French lesson. As one student said, “we had an insanely deep conversation about society and school-related topics.” The students knew that they wanted to do something. They wanted to do their part in making their community and beyond a more positive environment for their generation and generations to come. It was right then and there when the seed was planted for a project that they appropriately titled Art In Society.

They knew early on that a visual display would make more of an impact, but the how and where still had to be considered. One day, while student Stella was driving past a shopping center located on Rt. 113 in Berlin, she noticed a large white wall that faces traffic on Rt. 113, which happens to be a very busy route for many commuters. She immediately thought, “that’s it, that wall needs color!” After proposing the idea to their French Teacher, Madam McCann, they took it one step further. What if the murals could actually move? What if they could be on display in different locations for everyone to see? The inspiration for this idea came from a project in Miami, FL where a group of artists created a series of moving murals and the response for them had been overwhelming. Now, the real think tank began… the themes for the project.

Symphony will promote cultural awareness.

Pay It Forward will promote helping others and lending a hand to those in need.

Where Will The Children Play will depict the increase in industrial construction and dissipation of natural environments.

Before we left our interview with the Foreign Language Club, we asked each member of the group for their perspective regarding this project. Why do this now? What do you hope to communicate to people? As you can imagine, these students are extremely passionate about this project as they begin their journey into the real world beyond high school. For that reason, please forgive us if a portion of their message was not included, but we think you’ll get the idea.

Betsy – I feel like when I walk outside of my house, all I see is hate. I see a lot of room for improvement and I want to turn the negative into a positive.

Darrien – I’ve heard teachers say there won’t be another group of kids who care like us. We can help progress so much into a positive era.

Ashley – I wasn’t in the French class, so I joined this project as an outsider. Symphony really speaks to me because I believe that everyone can live together in harmony and respect each other.

Stella – Everyone deserves respect and to feel comfortable. Sometimes, you can’t make them listen. Sometimes, they just have to see.

Ian W. – I ran the school’s gay/straight alliance but the group dissipated because people don’t care anymore. This project may inspire others to accept lifestyles they don’t understand.

Ian P.  – I think one of the bigger things coming in here was that I got to meet all of these people and I’ve noticed that they are very articulate in life and with this project. That is something that I really needed to see. One’s mind can never be too broad. Their pictures really are worth a thousand words. I would personally love to see this project continue on. I’m really very proud of everyone and it makes me happy to be here.

Madam McCann – In my mind, doing nothing is the same thing as saying that everything is okay. So, I am imploring these kids. They can do this, they can make a change.

Like most school projects, the Foreign Language Club can’t do it alone. They are currently raising funds to pay for art supplies to complete the project, which they hope will be complete by the time they graduate this spring. There are several ways that we can help these kids and every little bit counts! The first option is to donate to their GoFundMe campaign, which can be accessed by clicking here. The second is an event that will be held at the Decatur Diner, located at 9609 Stephen Decatur Highway, on Thursday March 23rd from 4:00pm – 7:00pm. The Foreign Language Club will be there to actually serve the tables and answer questions that patrons may have about the project. Bonus – they will be serving “Breakfast for Dinner!” The Foreign Language Club is also looking for an individual or group who has experience with welding, which will be needed to build the portable displays for the art. If you or someone you know would be perfect for this job, please contact the ShoreBread team and we will help you reach Madam McCann.

Art In Society Students Include:

Stella Cunningham

Darrien Ross

Ashley Ferraz

Patrick Reid

Ian Waggoner

Peyton Dunham

Betsy Barb

Maggie Bunting

Rodney Murray

Kersten Paulsen

Ian Postley