CYPRESS HILLS — The halls and classrooms of one Cypress Hills high school may soon be brightened with a colorful mural highlighting the importance of healthy eating.
Public art group Groundswell is partnering with neighborhood organizations to help educate students at the Franklin K. Lane campus on the issue of food justice.
Artists are looking for ideas from teens at the five high schools within the Jamaica Avenue building by hosting after-school brainstorming and informational sessions, according to organizers.
The 250-square-foot mural is a part of Local Initiatives Support Corporation’s Communities for Healthy Food NYC program, along with help from the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation.
“It’s really thinking about the intersection of what’s going on in the neighborhood and understanding it from a cultural, economic and historical perspective,” said Colleen Flynn, LISC NYC’s director of programs.
The groups are working to “turn the tide” against Cypress Hills’ high rates of diet-related diseases, poverty, and unemployment, she added.
CHLDC has been working on the high school campus for several years, organizers said, hoping to increase residents’ access to healthy eating through cooking classes and food advocacy programs.
Since mid-October, a group of 10 teens has gained insight from local gardeners and community residents on topics including high-sugar foods at neighborhood grocery stores and fresh produce at farmers’ markets, said Groundswell lead artist Raul Ayala.
“We’re just trying to get around the idea of oppression and justice in general, using food as an example,” Ayala said. "For most of them, it's kind of the first time they're really thinking about these issues."
After coming up with designs, students will start painting 10 moveable panels at the end of the month.
The artist hopes the canvases will be on display throughout different sections of the schools, working as one whole mural as well as separate pieces.