MasterPeace is a school-based, student-centered art project
initially implemented in eight Miami-Dade County Public Schools during the 1998-99 school
year. Working under the direction of their art teachers and the artist, students created
murals that conveyed pro-social messages to their school populations.
These murals would serve as vehicles for students to learn and
convey positive messages to the rest of the student body and to the community. They would
help students make the right life-choices and would address important life-skills. Through
collaborative art projects, we believe that we can help youth learn to value diversity,
resolve conflicts, strengthen their self-esteem, respect others, and create pro-social
bonds with their schools and communities. They are also vehicles through which students
engage in pro-social bonding and take ownership in their schools and community.
Aside from MasterPeace, the artist has worked with diverse
community groups across four continents in the creation of pro-social art projects. These
projects are driven by the participants from the start. They work with the artist on a
collaborative art piece that captures their individual and collective resolve. The theme,
composition and other decisions about the piece are made through a consensus process,
facilitated by the artist
This art form has two important features: The process and the
product. The process is the coming together of students to develop a vision and work
collectively to achieve a common goal, their art. The merit of this educational process is
that everyone is valued for their contribution (diversity is rewarded) and success is
based on the ability of the participants to support one another in reaching their goal.
This process also leaves a product--the mural-- that serves as a conspicuous reminder that
challenges can be met by working together.