Beacon Development Group moved their office to Plaza Roberto Maestas (PRM) “Beloved Community” in early 2017. The Plaza has cultivated a lively, multi-cultural work location that exemplifies how entire communities benefit from quality affordable housing. Last summer BDG assembled a team of staff to re-vamp the 7’ x 10’ concrete entry wall into a welcoming entrance that was indicative of the work BDG does. The focus was to involve the children in the community, so staff teamed up with Beacon Arts to put a call out for local artists.
BDG commissioned artist Erin Shigaki based on her experience working with youth on public art projects. Shigaki is a Seattle native who runs a design studio called Purple Gate Design. She focuses on making public art that illustrates belonging, safety and healing, and in 2018 was selected for the City of Seattle Public Art Boot Camp and Ethnic Art Roster. Shigaki spent a day working with the children who participate in the El Centro de la Raza after-school program that is located at PRM. They focused on illustrating how they show and feel love in their community.
The morning started with Shigaki leading a thoughtful lesson on community and love that transitioned into a brainstorming session. The discussion ranged from tacos and gardens to Blue Angels and Seahawks. Using magazines, colored pencils and a lot of creativity, the children transformed their ideas into individual pieces of art. “They were attentive and not afraid to dive in and give expression to their drawings and collages about their communities,” Shigaki said.
Shigaki used the artwork and ideas shared by the children to create a unique and colorful design for the entryway mural. She then began the three-week process of hand painting the 7’ x 10’ concrete wall. “I hope the mural will provide an opportunity for folks to stop and take a few seconds to really look at colors, shapes, forms and small details. I also hope that folks will get a sense of how vibrant the PRM community is, and how important the El Centro programs are,” Shigaki shared after completing the project.
Earlier this month, BDG had the opportunity to thank the creative young artists whose bright perspectives inspired Shigaki’s design, Energia de la Comunidid | Community Energy. “It was wonderful to meet the little members of our community who helped create the mural we get to enjoy every day. This project wasn’t about prettying up concrete, it was about where we work and why.” Lucy Zappone, Construction Technician of BDG said. Each child received an art kit in hopes that they would continue to brighten blank canvas with their creativity.