Symbolic student mural unveiled in Crotona

The ‘Domino Effect’ mural inspires a positive message about creativity while also addressing the impact of local violence on the community.
Photo courtesy of Councilman Ritchie Torres’ Office

“Acts of violence in the community are like dominoes falling that affect each one of us” is the message behind a new mural located in Crotona.

On Monday, June 1, Groundswell, in partnership with Kappa III Knowledge and Power Preparatory Academy and Councilman Ritchie Torres, announced a dedication ceremony showcasing a new mural’s unveiling at 2055 Mapes Avenue.

This monumental mural entitled ‘Domino Effect’, illustrates how Kappa III equips its students with the necessary tools and skills required to strengthen their community in addition to achieving educational and professional success.

In creating this public masterpiece, 15 Kappa III middle school students participated in an intensive Cultural Afterschool Adventures Program with lead artist Marc Evan and assistant artist Gina Marina De La Rocha Goico.

Through this collaborative effort, the team researched, designed, and fabricated this visually stunning mural onto their school’s facade.

From a series of hands-on design workshops, students created vibrant imagery celebrating Kappa III’s commitment in fostering a nurturing, learning environment where young Bronxites can achieve their fullest potential.

Resulting from a series of local violent incidents, these young artists utilized the mural-making process as an opportunity to deliver a community-wide message revealing they do not feel safe in their own neighborhood and desire positive change to occur here.

While conducting their research and design for ‘Domino Effect’, the youth interviewed their fellow Kappa III classmates, both past and present students, as well as their parents and staff members.

During this creative process, the artists designed a mural celebrating Kappa III as a safe haven for students where they can thrive and fully develop into leaders and professionals.

In this public art piece, the dominoes symbolize the devastating impact violent acts have across the community whereas the paint brushes and pens depict the positive impact an act of creativity can establish.

“I am delighted to join Groundswell and the talented students at Kappa III to celebrate the unveiling of this powerful new mural,” Councilman Torres revealed. “I am optimistic that the creation of this mural has inspired these students to develop their roles as artists and activists in their home and school communities. Students at Kappa III have used art as a tool to call for a more peaceful and just community and we are all proud of their work.”

“Through their creativity and hard work, Kappa III students have created a powerful mural that will motivate and inspire their peers, today and into the future,” principal Elisa Alvarez shared. “When members of the Kappa community visit our school, they will relate to and see themselves captured in this mural. Even when our students no longer attend the school, the image will remain a part of them. Once you’re Kappa, you are always a member of the Kappa family.”

“Groundswell’s positive youth development model, based on best practices in 21st century learning, not only catalyzes the development of skills such as creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and compassion in youth muralists, but also inspires a feeling of agency and empowerment,” Amy Sananman, Groundswell executive director expressed. “In calling for an end to violence in their community, Kappa III youth artists have leveraged art as a tool for social change.”

‘Domino Effect’ was made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the New York City Council and with support from Councilman Torres.

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