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Public Art Program

ELM Foundation’s public art program explores the depths of community art from historical works to current times. Using education to inform our youth and community of the importance of this art form, we will push initiatives of acceptance, understanding, and appreciation. Along the way, we are advocating for this often misunderstood medium and giving it more recognition in the contemporary art world. 


At the core of our foundation, we strive to promote the healing power of the arts. By advocating the importance of artistic expression, in all forms, for all ages, our goal is to show the regenerative benefits of creativity. 


Our public art program is a multi-layered exploration of how humans, at their core, have a desire to view and create accessible communal artistic expression. From writing on cave walls to the present-day streets of NYC, to see and be seen is in our nature. 


Our year-round curriculum to create a safe and understanding space for this medium. But more so, break the boundaries of public art being overlooked in the contemporary art world. 


At the heart of ELM Foundation is our youth. With guidance, education, and understanding, we provide a safe space for the exploration of creative expression. Our goal is to give every young artist a VOICE. They deserve to be HEARD


To balance the ELM Family, we also champion our career artists and support their creative endeavors in the contemporary art world. With the use of our gallery exhibition space and professional artist programming, it is with great pleasure we can contribute to their growth as well. In the bigger picture, our ELM Family artists have one other exceptional quality, a passion for giving back to their community. 


By providing our youth with mentorship, we further encourage our young creatives that the arts can be a viable career but more so utilized throughout their lives as a means for expression, release, and healing. 


Our programing bridges the gap to bring all ages together to explore the healing power of art


Our public art program, inside and out! 



Our facilities include two buildings connecting adjacently. Our star is the well-known art gallery exhibition space, The Boiler (formally Pierogi gallery). Additionally, we have an annex building where we house our educational programming. Both spaces are approx 1500 sq ft each, with a combined total of 3,000 sq ft. 


The exterior of each will have its own focus in the public art program. 

The interior will also serve to drive the overall goals further. 





Education- In our classrooms, we are designing a curriculum that will explore public expression beginning with historical examination then onto hands-on creation. We will have monthly workshops with the end goal of having work that can be publicly displayed either eternally on our fence row or in other public spaces. All of our workshops will be focused on youth with the mentorship of professional mural artists. 


Examples of workshops


1. Writing- (Youth) This workshop will explore the history of street writing to find a new understanding of the culture, from where it came and why. The lead artist will help the youth explore how graphic design and individual expression all play a role in the creation of a nametag. Most importantly, we will look at how this medium is used to be seen and how it relates to identity. With understanding and guidance, we can mentor the youth to continue this form of expression more constructively and in ways that could have a more meaningful impact. We will lead the youth in creating their own identity graphically from ideas to the final design of their own nametag. Educating them on the legality of unwanted graffiti and exploring ways to have the same feelings and impact could significantly improve the public's option of street art. 


2. Advocacy Row- (Youth) This workshop will allow the class to explore current topics that need to be addressed. They will work together as a group with a lead artist to create a piece that can be displayed on our fence row or other public spaces. These pieces will be made inside on panels that can then be attached to the fence and effortlessly transferred to other locations. 


Current project on Advocacy Row- (installing May 2021)

At the core of ELM Foundation's art therapy program, we focus on children who have gone through any form of family separation or restructuring. From simple divorce to the total loss of a parent, creative expression has been proven to improve their lives in many ways. 

We have a very special group that is our heart, a group of kids who have been returned to the United States from International Parental Kidnapping. This group is forming bonds by having a mutual experience that is most extreme. We not only offer these kids art therapy but continue to support them through arts education and mentorship. The goal of our advocacy row is to educate the public with impactful artist expression. With the guidance of one of ELM Foundations art therapy programs, we give this group a way to express their feelings with creativity, leading to healing through art expression. 



3. History of Public Art- (Youth and Public)  

At various times we will host talks, educational films, and gallery exhibitions on the history of public art. From cave walls to the streets of NYC, we will explore a variety of community-based art. Taking a look at graffiti, writing, and murals, we will show how they are interconnected. 



Gallery- In the late summer, we will have an exhibition surrounding public art. Our goal is to show how street artists absolutely have a place in the contemporary art world. Their talents are often overlooked and not taken seriously. During the exhibition, we will include public talks from artists across the genre, from writers to muralists. We will explore the history of public art and invite guest speakers who have graciously documented the journey. 





Youth-led mural - On the ELM educational side, we have approx 850 sq feet of outdoor wall space facing 14th street in Williamsburg BK. A selection of youth artists from the Edward R. Murrow High School Art Program and ELM Foundation’s current young artists will work with professional muralists t to create a message to the community of the importance of artistic expression and creation in children’s lives. The project will start with our lead artist educating the youth on the history of public art then guiding them through the creation of the mural. The team will begin with the base idea of “The Healing Power of Art” and build the final work together. Starting with the input and opinions of the youth first, our lead artist will guide them through the process of combining the groups' ideas into a final work. We will begin with a couple of weeks of classroom design then take the creation outside. During this time, we will engage the community in the process by inviting them on certain days for an open house to learn about the process and the importance of our message. 


Featured Professional Artist- On the Boiler gallery side, we will divide the mural space into two sections. Our building facing 14th st in Williamsburg BK has two large double doors equally divided by brick. Each door will feature a working professional artist. The selection process will be rolling based on each door. Our main door will be a space for a veteran muralist to paint their rendition of the boiler itself. The history of The Boiler is unique in itself; the mainstay in the room sits a coal boiler built in 1937. Visitors to our gallery are in awe of the overwhelming size and history behind this masterpiece. We will allow our veteran artist to be inspired by these feelings and interpret that into a mural piece on the main door. 

Our second door will also feature a mural artist but one who is younger in their career. Again at ELM Foundation, our goal is to support artists of all ages and at different points of their lives. The age limit for the submissions of this mural will be 25. The theme will be more open to the artist's vision and the message they wish to portray. 



Advocacy Row- Alongside our building, we have around 200 linear feet of fence row that we intend to use for our youth to express their voice to the public. The fence will be divided into sections devoted to a variety of youth chosen topics. Like most of our programming, our youth will lead the topics and be guided by our mentor artist. 

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