“Social Justice and Unity” Mural, Featuring Master Artist Dread Scott, NA, and Students, Unveiled and Dedicated at East Flatbush Brooklyn Middle School

For Immediate Release

August 15, 2018



New York, NY – The National Academy of Design celebrated the unveiling and dedication of the organization’s 2018 summer mural project at the East Flatbush Community Research School IS K581 in Brooklyn on Friday, August 10. Master artist Dread Scott, NA mentored and provided professional development to the participating NYC students, all of whom are aspiring artists. The students got to conceptualize, design, and paint the public artwork with the themes of “social justice and unity.”

For the kids, this was their first professional artistic undertaking and they learned what it was like to be a professional artist. About the artistic process, student participant Jemila shared, “Dread was a creative force to help push our barriers.” Yana, the hands-on teaching artist who served as the Lead Artist on the project, reflected on the idea of public art relating to the community, “How do we talk about social justice in a way that is accessible to everyone?”

Since 1940, the National Academy has had a history of commissioning murals. In 2018, the National Academy renewed its mural projects program with a focus on commissioning public art in economically-disadvantaged neighborhoods where local students are engaged to paint the designs under the mentorship of one of the Academy’s National Academicians. The National Academy’s mural projects program is underwritten by an endowment formed through a bequest of Gertrude Abbey that was established through a deed of trust in 1931.

Moving forward, the National Academy plans to sponsor mural projects every year in areas across the United States and in partnership with different non-profit organizations. For 2019, a mural project in Los Angeles focused on immigration is being planned. The National Academy’s 2018 mural project was developed in partnership with Groundswell, a NYC-based organization that brings together youth, artists, and community organizations to use art as a tool for social change.


Founded in 1825 by a group of artists that included Thomas Cole, Samuel F. B. Morse, Asher B. Durand, and others, the National Academy of Design is an arts organization with a simple yet powerful mission “to promote American art and architecture through exhibition and instruction.” Consisting of three components, the National Academy is an honor society of America’s top artists and architects, as well as a presenter of arts, and an agent of arts education. Over the decades, the Academy has enriched and educated countless generations of artists and architects, while preserving and sharing their work with the public.


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