Many will remember the Mellon Creative Residency that brought Northern Ireland mural artist, Dee Craig, to the Tri-Colleges in the fall of 2014. Craig installed a collage in Kohlberg Hall and a large mural on the side of the Science Center, hosted an exhibit on mural arts in McCabe Library and guest lectured in classes across the Tri-Colleges.
Craig partnered with Paul Downie of the Community Arts Center and the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program to learn about the “parachute cloth” technique that is often used in Philadelphia’s mural scene.
Since he returned to Belfast, Dee has installed four murals using the parachute cloth technique, the first of their kind in Europe. Funding from the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland made the projects possible, and three of the new murals focus on education.
Prof. Lee Smithey had the opportunity to catch up with Dee Craig this summer in Belfast and visited each of the new murals.
Youth from nearby Ballymac Friendship Centre designed the first at the bottom of the Newtownards Road in East Belfast. Girls feature prominently along with themes of racial and ethnic diversity, education, and dance. Robyn Buseman and Willis “Nomo” Humphrey from the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Project flew to Northern Ireland to assist in the installation.
A new mural in the Donegal Pass area of South Belfast encourages reading and the emphasizes the importance of education for local youth.
Another mural celebrating education adorns a wall of the newly renovated Ballymac Friendship Centre.
Northern Irish and Polish youth cooperated to create a mural in Foxglove Street in East Belfast. Major-General Stanislaw F. Sosabowski led Polish Airborne Forces, who fought at the Battle of Arnhem in WWII. Sosabowski and his forces came to the rescue of the British 1st Airborne Division that had become surrounded by German troops.
Congratulations to Dee and all of his partners as they build on the Tri-Colleges Creative Residency.