In Session 3, the heroes of Discovery were commissioned to redesign a mural on campus. They completed daily rounds of verbal feedback and found inspiration both on their campus and in their city.
The first step of their design process was to identify the area and get familiar with the space. Afterwards, they created a list of symbols and ideas that tell the story of their community and that represent Ascent Academy in a way that makes them feel proud. Small groups of artists who completed a bonus challenge each week even left campus to explore the many murals in Austin to bring ideas back to the group. Their challenge was to create a final mural design by the end of the 3 week session.
The design process was full of critique, collaboration, and innovation. Learners were faced with the challenges of giving and receiving feedback, as well as letting go of ideas that wouldn’t fit into this project. The first round of feedback began with 27 designs, where each learner created their own design or icons that they wanted to be included in the final mural design. The studio transformed into a gallery space in which artists laid their work out in lines, respectfully walked around to observe the art, and placed stickers on the art that they wanted to share feedback about. Using the framework “I like ( ) about ( ) because ( )” and “I wish ( ) about ( ) because ( ), artists shared verbal feedback for the 10 works with the most stickers. They were clear, concise, and thought of new ideas together. After completing that step, the artists received feedback from one of the founders and were challenged to consider what was connected to their experience at Ascent and what was not so relevant to this project.
In round two of designing the Ascent mural, the artists met with their squads (6 groups), to bring their ideas together. By creating collages from the 27 works of art, the group created 6 designs, moving closer to their goal. In order to move toward one final design that the entire group could feel proud of, each collage was shared on the screen as everyone met in “group” to talk about what was working and what was not. The artists had innovative ideas to bring their creativity together, a crowd favorite being a “donut sun” representing the Challenge Donut, a tool that supports the learners in reflecting on their comfort zone, challenge zone, and panic zone. After 2 days of feedback and creating, the artists created one design, and faced their next challenge, approval from the rest of their community in the Spark Studio.
The Spark learners contributed their own experiences and ideas, adding elements like Spark play materials and disco balls to represent their Friday dance parties. After sharing their ideas to be added to the final design, the artists in Discovery completed their final round of approval with a unanimous “yes!” from the Spark learners.
Later in the week, families and friends were invited into the studio to see the design process in the form of a gallery. Afterward, a panel of Discovery artists, selected by the group, answered questions about the design process before revealing their final mural design! Finally, the artists prepared the space by priming the wall before leaving for the holiday break.
They are currently making progress painting the Ascent mural, which will be completed by mid-February.