This fall, students across DCPS and all over the country, participated in a collaborative art project based out of Dallas, Texas called the American Love Project, a grassroots response to the divisions in our country. Artists, nation-wide, were invited to submit work. Under the direction of the art teacher, Lauren Bomba, each student at Maury ES (1250 Constitution Ave NE) created a mixed-media piece expressing the meaning and importance of love.
Like most Hill kids, Maury students had direct experience of the impact of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in January 2021. Many had friends and family members living near or working within the Capitol building. Some recalled seeing rioters walking through the streets or hearing helicopters circling overhead. All remembered what it felt like to see barricades and barbed wire blocking access to familiar haunts. The students discussed their feelings of frustration, fear and indignation that their neighborhood was misused in this way.
They were eager to work through those negative feelings and proud to be part of the collective effort to create an antidote, a message of love and hope. There is nothing superficial or haphazard about their pieces. A first glance, they’re charming “eye candy,” dazzling with color and pattern. But a closer look reveals that they come from a very deep place of introspection and intention.
The entire set was initially installed at the school, to uplift and inspire – with digital images submitted to the organizers. Since then, a sampling has been moved to Hill Center (921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) where it is on display in the Young Artists Gallery. It can also be seen in a virtual gallery at hillcenterdc.org/artist/young-artists-gallery-maury/, which includes links to additional images and information about the American LOVE Project. It is well worth a visit.
As a side note: Three Maury students Jack Lettieri, Liam Telligman, and Bennett Wolfmeyer), one Maury alumnus (Will Weedon, now at Eastern HS), and Ms. Bomba are among the 36 finalists in a related competition.