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making-of11.jpg (18910 bytes)how to create community murals during your conference or event

about the process | sample murals | sample contract | faq

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  • During the Opening Plenary, we present the blank canvases -- explaining that these serve as a metaphor for the conference.  By each of us sharing our ideas, we can work together to create a powerful product. The wonder is that as the conference develops, so does the mural.  (This takes about a minute and a half).making-of2.jpg (10056 bytes)

  • The blank canvases are then placed in an "open studio" in the hallway outside the meeting areas (see logistics below).  People simply drop by and create their message on small pieces of paper as they walk from one session to the other (or during breaks).

  • We collage/glue the participant's messages into the canvas mural--mostly on the background of the central image being painted.  Naturally, the individual drawings/messages as well as the central image in the mural address the conference's central themes.making-of5.jpg (16057 bytes)

  • The conference is closed it with the unveiling and artist's signing of a colorful mural that documented those ideas and thoughts that participants thought to be most relevant during the conference.

  • After the conference, the mural can serve as a vehicle to convey the collective resolve of those who participated.  Other groups have done this by generating media attention during the conference, having the mural travel to other conferences/sites, and by disseminating posters and/or postcards of the finished mural.




The Open Studio

making-of9.jpg (17642 bytes)For the on-site "open studio", we will need about a 15' x 20' space with lots of light. We'll also need about 5 tables--three lined up against a flush wall (against which we can lean canvases and paint) and two others in the center with chairs for folks to sit and compose their messages. This should be in a very central place-- in a hallway, so that participants can drop by and take a minute to write between sessions.

The Opening and Closing

For the opening and closing plenary, we need three identical easels (most hotels have them available for posters and signage).  The easels must be capable of holding each of the 4 foot tall canvases, without puncturing them at the easel's vertex. 

making-of10.jpg (17779 bytes)As an alternative, during the Opening Plenary, we can have the canvases held up by three or four pre-selected individuals (e.g.: the conference co-chairs, honored guests, youth and/or random participants).

During the Closing Plenary, we need a white sheet, about 10 feet long (again hotel can provide long table clothes, etc) to use in the unveiling.   There should be adequate light shining on the three canvases.  


The images above document the creation of Xavier Cortada's "Bridging the Gap mural," 2m x 6m, mixedmedia on canvas, 1998, created during the XII World AIDS Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.