Community art celebration will feature live art and student artists
Vermont graffiti Artist Will Kasso Condry and Burlington High School (BHS) students will be hosting a celebration to unveil a new work of art to hang in BHS. The event will take place on December 11, from 6 – 7:30 pm in the Event Space on the first floor of the Old North End community center located at 20 Allen Street in Burlington. The event will feature conversations about the artwork by students, a live art demonstration by Will Kasso Condry, and light refreshments. The event is free and open to the public.
During the event, four original paintings will be unveiled. Created collaboratively by Kasso and students enrolled in the Burlington City & Lake Semester program (BCL), these abstract portraits of Burlington youth represent four values that have been central to students’ experience learning about the city: fun, curiosity, inclusion, and community. The works are acrylic paintings on large canvases and will be installed at BHS later this month.
The project has been led by Middlebury artist Will Kasso Condry, who uses mural arts as a vehicle for community-building, activism, beautification, and healing. Condry honed his craft growing up in Trenton, New Jersey and at the College of New Jersey before founding and leading SAGE, a nonprofit arts organization that created dozens of outdoor murals on abandoned buildings in Trenton and elsewhere. Condry has spent the last four weeks working with students in BCL, a BHS program that offers students a chance to gather in downtown Burlington to study the people, places, possibilities, and problems of the city through real-world, hands-on experiences.
“Working with BCL students was a very intimate and informative experience,” Kasso said. “This helped me learn more about Burlington and the community as a whole. I usually instruct others but with this group, I mostly stood back, observed and listened.”
Jensen Daly, a BHS senior who worked on the project said, “It was interesting to get to work with a highly skilled artist who has a very strong belief in the power of art. His insights and leadership allowed all students to feel engaged and empowered.”
Galen Moore, a BHS senior added, “It was a great experience to work with Will. I have never worked on a mural or done any artwork outside of a class at BHS. Working with him helped us to make a stronger connection to our classroom values and learn about the purpose and power of art.”
Kofi Young, a BHS senior, also reflected on the experience. “I would say it was cool because I had never seen myself as an artistic person but Will made art more accessible to me. It was a good experience, especially since I’ve never taken an art class at BHS.”
BSD Superintendent Obeng shared his enthusiasm for the innovative high school program and the community event. “This is yet another example of the great work happening at BHS and in the Burlington City and Lake Semester program. We continue to see BCL and similar programs connect students with members of our local community to work on projects that have real-world impact. Kudos to our students and staff and thank you Mr. Kasso Condry!”