Although the data mural at the Boys and Girls Club in Cambridge has been painted for some time, it’s been kept out of view by two large rolling walls. The Director wanted to keep it a surprise for those who were not part of painting it, and we wanted to have a discussion of the image and a celebration of it’s completion. Last week it finally happened. After talking briefly about taking the data from surveys that they all fill out and talking about how we developed the image (with a show of hands so everyone could see who helped to design the image and who helped to paint it) a rowdy bunch of kids and some tired-looking staff rolled back the walls and took a look at the image. It was difficult to maintain a conversation, but it was exciting to see the kids run up and show each other the parts that they had painted. As most of the kids rushed off to have celebratory snacks and juice, we were able to talk to a couple of the young people and a few of the staff about what they’d learned from the process and from the mural itself. We also wrote a dedication on the corner of the mural.
My favorite answer to the question of “what did you learn from the process was when one girl told me”I learned that I can paint”.
A woman who volunteers at the club and hadn’t seen the mural until the unveiling said that she “had never seen the completed surveys, just helped the kids fill them out”. For her the mural was a first glimpse of the data that they all work so hard to collect.
The Club Director was pleased that the kids had an opportunity to see the data that they fill out in the surveys, and also said “I learned that the kids really do feel like this is a safe place and feel like this is their club, and have ownership of it.”
Seems worthwhile to me!