Teen Empowerment Mural Apprenticeship (TEMA)
The Teen Empowerment Mural Apprenticeship (TEMA) is an after-school program, modeled on a traditional apprenticeship, in which teens create public art for community-based organizations, working in Groundswell's studio with a particular emphasis on skills development. Youth in Groundswell programs develop and hone their skills in four key areas – creativity; collaboration; critical thinking; and compassion. Through school-year and summer programs, they master skills in art making to: communicate ideas; work effectively with others to accomplish common goals; make informed decisions though researching, analyzing, discussing, and finding solutions to problems; and to build awareness of and empathy for others. Most Groundswell youth attend New York City public schools and come from low-income or working-class families. Groundswell youth participants are motivated to join the programs by public art-making’s connection to graffiti and street culture, to make new friends, express themselves, develop art skills and work collaboratively. In 2011, TEMA youth completed a mural entitled “The People of Sunset Park.” This mural was conceived as an exploration of the history of the Sunset Family Health Center for Women and Children through pictures of the people who have made the center what it is today. Imagery was derived from portraits of individuals who have been important to the center, who live in the community and doctors who have dedicated their lives to helping people in the neighborhood. The mural is meant to look like a digital image viewer, highlighting a rolling landscape of Sunset Park in the background with the faces of these individuals as floating pictures. At the mural dedication ceremony, youth spoke about how this project allowed them to learn about community and health, what those concepts meant to the people of Sunset Park, and how the mural represents the legacy of the community and the center.