Artists Have Transformed a Los Angeles High School With Inspirational Maya Angelou Murals

Branded Arts continues its mission of exposing students to the craft.

Arts
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Branded Arts has overtaken Dr. Maya Angelou Community High School in Los Angeles for the second edition of its LAUSD mural festival series, a large-scale project that the organization first kicked off in 2016 with Robert F. Kennedy Community School. In continuing with the mission of transforming “campuses into artistic canvases,” the latest installment commissioned over two dozen artists to create inspirational and culturally-charged murals around the institution.

The event kicked off last week, culminating with a celebration on Saturday that featured a performance by Miguel, educational talks by the likes of NASA and Run-D.M.C.’s Darryl McDaniels and a seminar in tandem with mental health awareness month. Students and professional global artists alike — including Ni Santas, Faith XLVII and Shepard Fairey (who also took part in the first edition) — showcased walls awash with Maya Angelou paintings, motivational phrases and lesser-seen depictions of L.A. lifestyle.

“Our goal is for these murals to become permanent gifts to the community,” said Branded Arts founder Warren Brand.

In other news regarding Dr. Maya Angelou Community High School, KITH recently created a capsule collection dedicated to the lauded activist, with all proceeds directly benefitting the school.

Dr. Maya Angelou Community High School
300 E. 53rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90011

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I’m proud of this Maya Angelou mural "Maya Angelou Rise Above,” which I just finished on Friday evening, and I was excited to be asked to paint at Dr. Maya Angelou Community High School for several reasons. First, I think the power and value of art should be emphasized wherever possible, but especially at a high school where young people are developing their world views and are still idealistically searching for the right paths forward. Second, I have been a fan of Maya Angelou’s writing since I read “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” in my 20’s, and I think she is an excellent example of using creativity to overcome adversity and express yourself on your own terms. Maya Angelou is a role model as a thinker, creator, and social-justice warrior. She has an incredible number of great quotes, but I chose “Hate has created a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet” because we are living in a moment politically when many people seem to be choosing hate over compassion, but also because I think the quote is a good message for a high school. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⁣⠀⁣⠀⠀ The mural is a big one, and the wall surface is pretty rough, so it was hard work for me and my crew of Dan Flores, Nic Bowers, Luka Densmore, Rob Zagula and Keya Tama, but we completed the mural in four days despite some strong winds. Thank you to the staff from Dr. Maya Angelou Community High School, LAUSD, and Warren Brand and his @brandedarts crew, who were extremely helpful and great to work with. A bunch of other talented artists painted at the school too, so check it out if you can.⠀ – Shepard

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