Groundswell worked in collaboration with the Passages Academy at Crossroads Juvenile Center in Brownsville, Brooklyn to develop a three-panel interior mural in the spring of 2015. Groundswell worked with a small group of youth participants in sixteen sessions to plan, design, and execute the mural. In the first third of the sessions the group collaboratively developed a theme and individually created visual symbols that related to that theme. The group then discussed composition and color choices for the final mural. The lead muralist then combined images and ideas from the students’ artwork into a cohesive sketch for “Powerful Beyond.”
The major themes of this mural are Life After Incarceration, the Quest for Freedom, and Personal Success. In the three main panels of the mural, five primary figures serve as the protagonists. They are adolescent dreamers who are looking into the future, pondering their goals, and strategizing steps they’ll take to realize a rewarding life. Surrounding these figures are visual remnants of incarceration, such as prison bars, that are being bent or subverted. Moving upwards in each mural panel are symbolic images depicting career choices and symbols of hope. Several banners connect these three panels and showcase quotes about education and self-discovery.