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Carmen Herrera and JHS 99 Students Paint School Mural

Courtesy of Publicolor/Madison Hamilton

A mural has been gifted to New York City by prominent Cuban-American artist Carmen Herrera. Guests gathered at the work’s site, JHS 99 (a school in East Harlem), to witness the launch of the Manhattan landmark visible from the nearby FDR Drive.

“Here we are at this amazing piece of art done by students and designed by a woman who is internationally loved and understands the importance of art education. This is art where it should be,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

The socially-distanced ceremony began with a warm welcome from Publicolor Founder and President Ruth Lande Shuman.

“We had a total of 10 students working on this,” Shuman said. “The mural is divided into 96 different panels, and our students gridded and measured the whole thing. One of our students told us his math grade went up by twenty-six points since starting this project. If nothing else, that says a lot about project-based learning.”

Following, JHS Principal Luis Genao appreciatively thanked the organization, saying, “We’ve been here for 25 years, and with the support of Publicolor, we’ve been able to keep the arts alive in this building.”

Publicolor is a long-term youth development program that uses project-based learning models to engage disaffected students in their education, one of which is painting artwork.

“This mural showed me hard work pays off, I feel honored to be 14 and able to paint work from someone as honorable as Carmen Herrera. When I look at the mural I feel empowerment, especially empowerment for women,” said JHS freshman Kahlauney Beret.

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