By Eric O’Connell / Zip06.com • 11/30/2021 4:22 PM EST
To commemorate Old Saybrook’s diverse past and to present the city as a welcoming community for all, Old Saybrook will soon be the site of a community mural.
Over the next several months, the side of Foodworks will house a mural intended to commemorate the inclusive and diverse heritage of Old Saybrook, according to Old Saybrook March for Justice and the Public Art for Racial Justice Education (PARJE) program. According to a press release from the organizations, Old Saybrook art teachers Hannah Newton and Sara Menga will lead the creation of the Old Saybrook mural. Old Saybrook will join East Lyme, Old Lyme, Norwich and New London, all of which already have murals.
Maryam Elahi, president of the Community Foundation for Eastern Connecticut and an advisor to PARJE, said the idea for the mural came about after such public involvement with people speaking out for justice initiatives and diversity after the murder of George Floyd in 2020.
“It’s a way to send a message of history but also to show that we are a welcoming city. It’s a way to move forward and use art to draw attention to issues of equity and justice, ”Elahi said.
Elahi said people would start painting in the spring, but wasn’t sure how long it would take to finish. To ensure artists are paid for their work and have access to high quality material, Elahi estimated that $ 15,000 needed to be raised. To do this, several fundraisers are planned. The first such fundraiser was on November 28 (after press time for this story), but Elahi said more fundraisers will be scheduled after the holidays.
Pending fundraising, donations can be made via a check sent to the Community Foundation for Eastern Connecticut, mentioning “for Old Saybrook mural” in the line of the memo.
So far Elahi said the response has been overwhelmingly positive, with businesses and individuals stepping up to help with the mural.
“Everyone has been so generous. I just think it’s wonderful that the arts community has supported us all, ”Elahi said. “It’s so important.”
For more information on PARJE and its mission, visit www.racialjusticeart.org/about.