Bernardi Returns to Help Heal Local Neighborhood Through Art

May 9, 2012

Mary Baldwin University Artist-in-Residence Claudia Bernardi , who, over the years, has shown scores of students the ways art can heal communities torn apart by war, has returned this May Term to demonstrate the restorative powers of art in the local community.

Through May 15, Bernardi is in Waynesboro leading Mary Baldwin students, children and teachers from Wenonah Elementary School, participants in an afterschool program for Latino youth, and local residents in painting a mural on a recently erected 50 by 6 foot fence. The goal is to help unite and beautify the troubled neighborhood known as Basic City.

Combining art, human rights, education, and social and political awareness, the project began in late April with a community discussion about what should be depicted on the mural. Out of this talk, the needs, hopes, desires, dreams, memories, and demands of the local community were revealed and have helped inspire ideas for the colorful mural.

Joining Bernardi are three art teachers — America Argentina Vaquerano, Claudia Verenice Flores Escolero, and Rosa del Carmen Argueta — from the School of Art and Open Studio in Perquin, El Salvador, where Bernardi has done some of her most meaningful work to help heal war wounds. Associate Professor of Art History Marlena Hobson; Adjunct Assistant Professor of Film, Director of Film Minor, and Director of Studios Allen Moyé;Associate Professor of Spanish Ivy Arbulú; and Director of Civic Engagement Steve Grande are also investing their time and energy into the interdisciplinary project, dubbed “Permeable Borders.”

All expenses for the project will be absorbed by Mary Baldwin as in kind contribution. Hobson’s husband, Paul Borzelleca, constructed the free-standing wall in cooperation with local resident Tanya Hardy, who owns the Park Station Villas at 260 North Commerce Ave where the mural is being created.