Rahul has decided to use the data mural process as a teaching tool in his course “Data Storytelling Studio” at MIT.  As an introduction to basic data analysis, visual representation and thinking about audiences and the needs of small non-profits, the class heard a presentation from the Director of Food For Free and then turned the organization’s data into a story about the way that food moves from donor organizations to recipients all over the Boston area.

foodforfree mural

For the first time Connection Lab joined the process only once the story and the basic imagery had already been crafted.  All that was left was to refine the design, mix paints and assign tasks during the painting session.  The design shows a tree whose roots reach out to donor organizations and carry food up its trunk to grow into fruits and vegetables that can be delivered and flowers that represent the many related benefits that food can provide.



As some students painted, the other students developed specific imagery and phrases to use in the roots of the tree and in the mural’s title.  We kept the colors slightly muted (by mixing a small amount of purple into each one) but used a broad range of colors.


In just an hour and a half the mural came together, with barely a drop of spilled paint.  I’ve discovered that the better we do at protecting the floors and tables, the more careful the group is about not spilling!  Food For Free hopes to use the mural in their office space and at community events.