By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — A crowd of residents, elected officials and proud family members gathered at The Fish Market, 4355 Schaefer Road, for the dedication of the Pockets of Perception Team 4’s mural on Aug. 15.
“We had a great group of kids who came up with the mural idea and them brought it to life,” Dearborn Community Fund Executive Director EmmaJean Woodyard said. “It’s also nice to see the city’s investment in art because art is a driving force in the economy.”
The “Rouge River Rebirth” mural was painted by nine high school students from Dearborn on the side of the building using bright colors to bring their creation to life.
POP Team 4 members were Sukayna Davanzo, Amar Haidar, Isabella Hall-Durant, Mohamad Hassan, Kareem Nassar, Nathan Rudolph, Manal Said, Nawal Said and Georgia Ziegler. Local artist and resident Aimee Chorkey lives across the street from the mural site and volunteered her time to assist the students on the painting.
The students earned a stipend and certificate following the completion of their work on the mural.
Students worked on the mural in two groups, each creating 20 thumbnail sketch suggestions and a final design. The two groups decided to combine their designs by overlapping the illustrations.
“‘Rouge River Rebirth’ depicts the colorful blending of Dearborn’s history, industry and ecology over the years,” a DCF press release said. “The POP team chose to use a palette of bright, bold colors that add to the impact of the mural which covers the entire south side of the Fish Market building.”
POP Team Co-Director Sunshine Durant further explained the inspiration for the mural and that it is expected to last 10 years because it was sealed.
“The mural shows the history of Dearborn and how it came about” she said. “Rings, upside down trees, fish swimming in the water represent the redevelopment of the Rouge River. Gears and wheels signify Ford Motor Co.”
Students shared their experiences and challenges working on the mural as a group.
Twins Manal and Nawal Said said the project taught them a lot about teamwork and that they were able to achieve something great by putting in the work.
They also thanked the community for the support on the mural.
Hassan spoke about working with a group of people he did not know, and a paint incident that took place near the completion of the mural.
“We all went into the project not knowing each other and did ice breaking exercises,” he said. “We faced obstacles along the way, such as weather, lack of painting experience and me dropping a bucket of purple paint on myself.”
The students plan to stay in touch in the future with a messaging app so they can communicate after they graduate and go off to college.
The POP Team 4 sponsors are the Ford Motor Co. Fund, East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority, Kosch Family Fund, Isamay Osborne and Steven Bernard Jewelers/Steven and Faye Adelson.
Previous completed POP projects are two complementary stainless steel sculptures in City Hall Park and West Dearborn Pocket Park, a mosaic mural at the John D. Dingell Transit Center, and a sculpture made from the original doors from the former city hall building which is on display at the Artspace City Hall Lofts.
Each year, the DCF accepts applications for its next POP project which are open to all high schools in Dearborn.
To learn more about the POP projects or to donate go to www.dearborncommunityfund.com.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])