Schoolchildren in New Britain are reaching for something more these days and the Central Connecticut State University community is helping them get there.
Art and academics collide at the Global Collegiate Academy inside Louis P. Slade Middle School through a mural project focused on the benefits of healthy eating, according to Social Studies teacher Josh Scherer.
"It's a way for the students to express themselves artistically and connect social studies content to it as well," Scherer said.
Brian Padilla, an eighth grader, called it "a mural with meaning."
"It has a meaning to eat healthy and have fun and know what you're eating and be educated," Padilla said.
The collaboration between the New Britain Public Schools and CCSU is made possible by "Community Central," an organization that connects the university and city residents.
CCSU professors and art education students have been working with middle schoolers for the past two months, developing and fine-tuning the design and execution of the mural.
By the end of the month, the huge blank wall in the cafeteria will be covered with the students' work.
"It's really gonna make the cafeteria very nice and we plan to do more stuff around the community too," Padilla said.
Instilling that sense of responsibility and empowerment is just what the collaboration is all about, Scherer said.
"Art is transformative and they can see where they've transformed their school environment by their own work," he said.