As Europe faces new challenges, societies across the region are struggling through profound political and demographic changes. I’ve had the unique opportunity to spend time in seemingly obscure corners of the continent, far from the tourist attractions, where I’ve had fascinating experiences creating art with a diversity of people, who used the power of creativity to create massive works of public art for their communities.
In Krakow, Poland, foster youth painted a vibrant city on top of a giant dragon, while the homeless in Manchester, England envisioned their pain and hope inside a flying man that represented each of them. Newly-arrived refugees in Stuttgart, Germany reflected on their traumatic past and goals for a bright future, while teens recovering from addiction in Estonia rendered the negative and positive influences in their lives inside an epic battle scene from local mythology. Meanwhile, street kids in Bucharest, Romania expressed their passion for their new identity as talented circus performers, while inmates in a London prison expressed their common vision for redemption and a new path in life.
From such diverse communities, I learned that public art is a powerful platform that can unite those who think they have nothing in common, brought together with a common mission to create beauty and send their message to the world!
Thanks to all the partners who made these projects possible: Artolution, Arts & Homelessness International, Radisson Hotels and Street Child United.