The Veterans Freedom Mural, Getting Back to the World, is the inaugural project for Wilmington’s first-ever free public art training program, entitled Public Art Prep Program (PAPP). Creative District Wilmington and Connections Community Support Programs, Inc., partnered to develop PAPP as an opportunity for local artists to learn new skills as well as expand their experience in neighborhood mural-making by combining community engagement practices and public art-making techniques.
The Veterans Freedom Mural is on the exterior wall of Marcella’s House, a 31-unit veterans’ residential facility owned by Connections Community Support Programs, Inc. at the intersection of 9th and Washington Streets. Mural-making at its core is a community process, and the Veterans Freedom Mural is a collaborative effort that engaged a number of key stakeholders in community planning meetings and community paint days.
Muralist Eric Okdeh was the lead artist on the project, and facilitated workshops where artists observed and learned from his process, practicing the techniques while creating the Veterans Freedom Mural. Okdeh facilitated community engagement meetings, teaching participants how to elicit feedback and distill it into mural imagery. Participants learned how to use the parachute cloth method to create the mural and the actual installation of parachute cloth. They also learned how to create and install glass mosaic. Participants who
completed the Public Art Prep Training workshop series received a non-credit certificate of completion.