A School Community in the Bronx Explores "Living on Mars" Through Art
20 Jul 2000
(Source: NASA Headquarters)
Headquarters, Washington, DC
So what would it be like living on Mars? Southwest Bronx, NY school children will have an opportunity to describe it, not with words, but with a picture. A 7,000 square foot mural to be exact.
The NASA Art Program and the NASA Astrobiology Institute are partially funding a mural entitled "Living on Mars". City Arts, a Manhattan-based art organization dedicated to transforming neglected areas of New York City into public art spaces and New Settlement a non-profit housing and community building organization in the South Bronx, are coordinating the project.
The permanent outdoor mural, one of the largest in New York City, is being painted on the walls facing the school yard of Community Elementary School 64, 1425 Walton Ave in the southwest Bronx under the direction of artists Nicholas A. Enright and Nils Folke Anderson of the Big Hands artist collaborative . It began on July 5 and will be completed by the end of the month. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for early fall to welcome kids back to school.
Mars expert and former NASA Director of Advanced Concepts, Dr. Lewis Peach briefed the children and teens about life on Mars. Although NASA provided visual information to help spark the kids' imaginations, they are mostly relying on their own creativity to interpret space exploration past and present with a focus on Mars.
The mural is a Mars Millennium Project, an official White House Millennium Council Youth Initiative sponsored by the White House Millennium Council, the U.S. Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the J. Paul Getty Trust. The Mars Millennium Project challenges students to work in teams to produce a work of art or science that reflects their vision of the future.
The NASA Art Program has been commissioning artists since the early 1960's. Traditionally, American artists have received a small honorarium to document the space program. "Living on Mars" represents a new NASA millennium initiative of Administrator Daniel S. Goldin, who has tasked the NASA Art Program to reach out to diverse communities.