This past December, a bright new mural adjacent to The Guild’s Concord campus lobby greeted students and staff after the holiday break. The display features a bustling downtown scene complete with artwork by Guild students and adult residents framed in the windows.

“Guild students and adult residents proudly contributed their artwork to make this mural come to life. The final product embodies our vision of creating inclusive communities,” says Amy C. Sousa, Chief Executive Officer of The Guild.

The mural project was born out of our existing partnership with Boston-based nonprofit Artists For Humanity (AFH), an organization that provides under-resourced teens a path to self-sufficiency through paid employment in art and design. Last spring, AFH installed interactive wayfinding murals throughout The Guild School to support students with low vision and orientation and mobility challenges.

With this new mural, both organizations set out to create an interactive creative experience that would give all members of The Guild a sense of ownership and community while ensuring space for each participant to express their imagination and feel represented. The project involved over 60 people in its design, from AFH designers and artists to The Guild’s students and adult residents.

“When this new mural project was presented with the idea to make something interactive – with both the AFH team and The Guild community participating in the process – we were thrilled. We both had the same vision,” says Kelsey Arbona, Design Director with AFH.

Integral to AFH’s team was their group of teen designers who saw the project through from initial sketching to implementation. Designers created coloring templates for The Guild’s students and adult residents to fill in and contribute to the display.

AFH designers emphasize how collaboration across organizations fostered a sense of community reflected in the mural. “I didn’t really have a community growing up, and I wasn’t taught how important that was. Feeling part of something bigger is important to me, and I’m glad I could help teach others about working as a collective,” says Bloo Nicholson, AFH Teen Designer-turned-AFH Alum.

“For me, the vision was to show through design how different communities can come together as one,” adds AFH Teen Designer Tianna Lutan.

The next time you visit our Concord campus, check out the new downstairs mural and see for yourself the incredible work of AFH and the individuals we serve!