The Rickie Report has shared Calls for Art in Public Places before and has written about Public Art Projects in Hobe Sound, Palm Beach County, Boynton Beach, Fort Lauderdale and more. This article takes our readers behind the scenes, as we interview award winning mural artist and art educator, Sharon Koskoff, who oversaw the “Body Graphix Mural Project”. We hope that art lovers, art patrons and artists get a better understanding and appreciation of these Public Art Projects.
ART IN PUBLIC PLACES:
“BODY GRAPHIX MURAL PROJECT”
AN INTERVIEW WITH SHARON KOSKOFF
Body Graphix Mural Project
TRR:How did the Body Graphix Mural Project Begin?
As one of several Center for Creative Education teaching artists I was eligible to apply for this project, and happily my proposal was accepted. The project was sponsored by the Boys and Girls Clubs in partnership with Palm Beach County Art in Public Places and the Solid Waste Authority’s Recycled Paint Program.
The mural spans 80’ and is hung high. It is meant to be seen driving by in a car or as a pedestrian from a distance. We also wanted to introduce the students to three area professional artists from Belle Glade who would also serve as role models for mentorship.
TRR:How was the project formulated?
There are several ways to approach this group mural project….
• An artist makes a design in color and everyone paints different parts of it. The previous mural was painted on 4’ x 8’ wood panels and created a large scale single concept, which was a landscape.
• Everyone gets an individual wood panel and paints anything they want or follows a theme but creates 20 different ideas and colors. Balance is only created in the installation through repetition of similar scale and size.
• My Concept: Combine the two ideas! Each student gets their own panel, the theme is their individual portrait of their ‘physical presence” and chosen images of their “personal essence”. The mural is created in an abstract style of warm and cool colors with overlapping chosen images. The students all use the same selected paint colors and use outlining to create one harmonious mural of 20 individual panels that has a dynamic view from afar.
I have used this concept serval times before at public venues as Lake Worth Middle School, Toussaint L’Overture High School, Home Safe youth affected by violence and other locations. I knew it would adapt well to the scrutiny of exterior public art maintenance and longevity, as well as it being age appropriate for the young adult teens.
TRR: Where do you begin?
Organization is the key to success in an Artist in Residence atmosphere where education and learning is as important as the process of making art and the finished product. Project outlines and lesson plans made it possible to create Body Graphix in eight hands-on workshops.
Materials were gathered loaded and unloaded onto the site. Safety, drop cloths, painting attire, rules and “getting to know you” takes place in the first session. I was going to use a projector to create the personal student silhouettes, so on the first class, I used to the projector to create “head” shots of each student on paper.
They got to know me, see my tools, how I operate, learn what to expect, what we were going to do next class, what they needed to prepare and plan for their personal individual “full body portrait – body graphic”.
TRR:How did Body Graphix come into being?
We jump right in and begin to paint! We primed the heavy wood panels front and back and the high energy begins to flow… everyone has a job to do with no time to waste!
By the second workshop, we built a “stage” for the panels and the projector light box and the students took turns making their “pose”. Then their inner emotions dictated what symbols to add to the silhouette as the sun, the moon, flowers, sports, animals, planets, rain, lightning, flora, architecture, music …. All symbols that had meaning to each student alone. Theatrically, I hand drew all 20 panels while each student participated posed for their silhouette individually.
Students also started a journal book where they wrote their feelings, impressions and ideas of what was going on around them. Some added collage elements to their notebook journals and created artistic book covers.
Warm Colors of Red, Orange, Yellow and Pink were introduced. Teens made a choice to paint the background in warm colors, or their body portrait.
Cool Colors of Blues, Greens and Purple were introduced. If the portrait was warm colors, the background would now be in the cools colors to “pop” out in contrast.
Fifth, Sixth & Seventh Workshops
In the remaining workshops students worked with each other, alone, other with adult volunteers who came by to be part of the high energetic act of creativity!
Three local artists born in Belle Glade, came by to show their work and tell the kids how they became professional artists. Featured in the TV video was Donald Neal.
When the warm and cool panels were completed, a dark brown outline color was mixed to symbolize the “soil” in Belle Glade, as the motto goes, “her soil is her fortune”. The panels were then sealed front and back for exterior longevity and protection from the sun.
All students signed a large ball that could be bounced around the gymnasium as a reminder of the project. Also everyone who was associated with the project dipped their hands in paint and made colorful imprints on a panel to be hung indoors in the recreation room!
TRR: Let’s talk about the Outcomes
I led and coordinated the “Body Graphix Mural Project” for the Bill Bailey Center Boys & Girls Club of Palm Beach County participants and extended community, through the educational and artistic process of public mural painting. Participants learned about art, painting, color, design, and scale, as well as teamwork, group effort and social history. Tremendous positive energy was shared while working together, formulating ideas, planning, and problem solving. It was extremely exciting to be connected to the process of a blank canvas that evolves into a successful and significant work of art. Each participant created their own individual “identity” work of art, that installed together, created a beautiful vision of 4’ x 8’ connecting mural panels on the newly painted building!
The following process was implemented: community invited/ stake holders / local guest artist mentors etc., create connections, collaborations and introductions, slide presentations of previous public murals, rules and safety, expectations, questions and answers, create artworks to take home as a silhouette self-portrait on paper, prime mural panels, interactive team projection of full body portrait ”Graphix” onto mural panels using a projector, add individual “identity” designs elements relating to personal participants, learn about warm and cool colors, paint the mural panels, encourage open dialogue of expression in Recap, learn painting techniques, top coat murals with exterior sealer, supervise install of mural panels and then celebrate accomplishments with an all invited Award Certificate Ceremony. The mural project was documented individually through daily “journaling books” with writings, sketches, and thoughts, as well as publicly, through photographs / video and media press releases.
• After the County installed the panels measuring 80’ wide by 8’ tall onto the exterior façade of the Bill Bailey Community Center,a Body Graphix Award Luncheon and presentation was held and everyone celebrated!
- The Sun wrote a front page story on the Body Graphix mural project.
- A half hour TV show featuring the Body Graphix project and it’s aired on the County Connection program since April 2016.
- Sharon Koskoff received an accommodation from Congressional Representative Alcee Hastings.
- Palm Beach Post featured an article on Art in Public Places of PBC with Elayna Toby Singer and the Sharon Koskoff Body Graphix residency.
TV Segment Overview
In the latest episode of County Connection, meet the teens, adults and organizations who helped create the “Body Graphix“ murals at the Bill Bailey Community Center in Belle Glade. Palm Beach County’s Art in Public Places program partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County’s teen after-school program and the Solid Waste Authority’s recycled paint program to design and paint the new murals which recently replaced murals created in 2002 by Glades area students and teachers.
TRR: Tell us more about yourself and your own art.
I graduated from Brooklyn College with Honors (Fine Arts Major and Education Minor), Honor Photography and Sculpture, New York School of Interior Design (Masters Color Theory), School of Visual Arts (Printing). I’m involved in numerous Associations, including: Florida Humanities Council Speakers Bureau, Arcadia Publications / Author Art Deco of the Palm Beaches / Local History, Founding President Art Deco Society of the Palm Beaches 1987 – present, Public Art Advisory Board of Delray Beach / PAAB Chairperson, School of Creative Arts at the Old School Square Arts Complex / Youth & Adult Art Instructor, Society of Four Arts / Museum Leader of Group Tours, Very Special Arts /VSA Florida / Artist in Residence, Armory Art Center / Historic Preservation / Art & Architectural Lecture Series.
TRR: Sharon’s accomplishments and mentorship include collaborations, commissions, workshops, projects and grants on behalf of numerous local non-profit organizations:
Recent Collaborations/ Commissions / Workshops / Grants / Projects
Cornell Museum at Center for the Arts / Children’s Wing Murals
City of Westgate / Public Sculpture / Ceramic Tile / Community Youth
FIU Wolfsonian Museum / Key Note Speaker
Florida Humanities Council / Amory Art Center Art Deco Lecture Series Grant
Osborne Center/ For the Children / Lake Worth Murals Interior & Exterior
Nine Arch Murals / LULA Lake Worth CRA
Palm Beach County Gov/TV Chanel 20– Inside History / Three Documentaries
Pine Grove Elementary School / Artist in Residence
Plumosa School of the Arts / Artist in Residence
Roosevelt Middle School / Artist in Residence
Safety Net Program / Home Safe A Place for Children / Artist in Residence
Butterfly Installation at Cultural Council
Stage Left Theatre / Boynton Beach
Her recent Awards:
2014-15 Winner Ellen Liman Arts Educator Award of Excellence; Muse Awards Palm Beach County Cultural Council; 2013 International Coalition of Art Deco Societies / Havana, Cuba; Arts & Cultural Exchange Program
2008 / 2010 Finalist Arts Educator of the Year Muse Awards Cultural Council; 2009 / 2015 Women in Executive Leadership.
Sharon Koskoff Public Commissions include:
90 Southeast 5th Ave/Exterior Art Murals◊505 Teen Center/Woman’s Club Mural◊American Heart Association/Signature Artist◊ARC/4 Murals◊Armory Art Center/ 1997- 2001 “Artists Ball Designer”◊Armory Art Center Gators Galore /“Gator Calculator”◊Art Deco Society of the Palm Beaches◊Art & Jazz on the Avenue/Official Poster Beach Art in Public Places◊Art in the Alley / Community Art 1 – 5◊Artigas/2 Community Murals◊Atlantic Community High School/3 Murals◊Banyan Creek Elementary Butterfly Mural◊Barton Elementary School/ 8 Murals◊Belvedere Elementary School/ 8 Murals◊Boca Raton Art in Public Places Photo Exhibition◊Boca Raton Elementary School/2 Murals◊Boca Raton Express Museum/Tile Train Depot◊Boys & Girls Club of PBC/Art in Public Places PBC Belle Glade, FL◊C.W. Gerstenberg Hospice, Children’s Bereavement◊Carver Middle School/2 Murals/Book Installation◊Center for Creative Education/Project LEAP◊Cezanne Jazz Club at Sheraton Hotel/Mural WPB ◊City of Aventura/3 Murals, Founders Day Festival◊City of Westgate/Community Ceramic Totem Pole ◊ Clematis Street Bench Project/Metropolitan Sponsor◊Coffee Gallery Café/3 Murals Lake Worth / 4 Murals◊Connor Moran Children’s Cancer Foundation, Mural◊Crosspointe Elementary School, Cafeteria Murals◊Del Prado Elementary School,Cafeteria Murals◊Delray Beach Cultural Loop, Open Door Project◊Delray Beach Cultural Loop, Community Chairs ◊Delray Beach Flower Festival,Millennium Project ◊Delray Beach Flower Festival,Toussaint L ‘Overture◊Delray Beach Multicultural Festival,Murals◊Delray Full Service Center (Old Carver Middle)◊Discovery Key Elementary School,3 Murals◊Eagles Landing Middle School, 7 Murals◊Environmental Resources Management Palm Beach◊First Night 2001 – 2014,10 Puppets on Wheels◊First Night 2004, Seven Hole Miniature Golf Murals◊Galilee Retirement Village, 7 Murals◊Good Samaritan Hospital Kids ER Lobby◊Greenacres Elementary School,3 Murals◊Gringle, Dougherty & Wheat – Have a Seat!◊Hamburger Heaven Clematis Murals◊Hidden Oaks Elementary,Mural◊Home Safe / A Place for Children 5 Murals◊Hotel Biba Showtel 2004,Flower Bed ◊HRS Lobby & HRS Pediatric AIDS ◊Indian Ridge School, 20 Murals ◊JCC Theatre Production Mural and 6 Sculptures ◊JCC, Wild Things: A Child’s Right to Read◊JCC, Hanukkah-fest,10 Pastel Murals – WPB ◊JCC 350 Years of Jewish History in America◊Jefferson Davis Middle School, Murals ◊ Jell-O Shots! Resource Depot Recycle Center ◊Juneteenth! Shady Museum Freedom Celebration ◊ Juvenile Justice of Port St. Lucie/ VSA Artist◊Juvenile Justice of Palm Beach County◊Keyes to the Cities/Kretzer Pianos Kravis Center◊Lincoln Elementary School, 8 Murals ◊ Loggers Run Middle School,4 Murals ◊ B Love’s Drug Building, 1/8 Community Mural NARP◊March of Dimes, 8 Murals ◊Mario’s Market West Atlantic,Exterior Murals◊ Morikami Park Elementary School ◊Native Sun, Have a Seat! Adirondack Chair ◊Nine Muses, Art Therapy Mural ◊Nine Arch Murals Lake Worth◊Norton Museum of Art,2 Murals◊Northmore Elementary School,2 Murals◊Odyssey Middle School,10 Murals◊Old School Square/Cornell Museum Murals ◊Orchard View Elementary School,2 Murals◊Office Depot Corporate Headquarters,3 Murals◊Open Door Project / Cultural Loop Delray◊Osborne Center,For the Children, 9 Murals◊Palm Beach County Millennium Council◊Palm Beach Gardens Hospital,10 Murals◊Palm Beach International Airport 2 Murals◊Palm Beach Public School,2 Murals◊Palm Beach Zoo Dreher Park,50 Mural Panels◊ Palm Beach Zoo at Dreher Park,Boo at the Zoo Live Animal Stage, Christmas in July◊Palm Springs Elementary School,2 Murals◊Palm Springs Middle School,30 Murals◊Palmetto Elementary School,Murals◊Parker’s Kitchen Building, 2 Murals◊PBICA, Palm Beach Institute Contemporary◊Pineapple Grove Archway, Ceramic Tile Bases◊Pine Grove School of the Arts,18 Murals◊Pine Grove/Paint Up Pine Grove, Lead Artist◊Plumosa School of the Arts/ Go Green Murals◊Port Salerno Elementary School◊Post Card Murals Sent to the US Troops◊Puppetry Art Center of the Palm Beaches◊Quest Theatre,Theatre Design and Murals◊Ranger Construction Corporate Office◊Robert Montgomery’s Home Safe Project◊Roosevelt Elementary School,10 Murals◊Roosevelt Middle School,3 Murals◊Rosemont Park,Ceramic Tiles/Words to Live By◊Royce Hotel,Murals ◊SD Spady Elementary School,11 Murals◊Solid Waste Authority PB County◊South Florida Science Museum◊St. Mary’s Hospital, Mural◊Stage Left Theatre / Boynton Murals◊Sugar Sand Science Playground◊Sunfest Banner Project◊Sunrise Park Elementary School, 3 Murals◊U. B Kinsey/Palmview School of the Arts◊United Way Day Care,5 Murals◊Very Special Arts/ VSA◊Washington Elementary School◊Westgate CRA,Totem Project◊ Westward Elementary School◊West Palm Beach Centennial◊Whispering Pines Elementary School◊Women’s Circle of Hope/Signature Artist◊YMCA of Boca Raton,Murals.
For more information about this article and to see more of Sharon’s artwork, please visit:
Sharon Koskoff websites include:
Art Deco Society of the Palm Beaches
325 SW 29th Avenue, Delray Beach, Florida 33445
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