Groundswell Community Mural Project ©

Acrylic on Wall
55 x 165 Ft

Lead Artist: Paul DEO
Assistant Artist: Aerin Vanhala
Youth Artists: Asjahnae Louden, Crystal Flowers, Danielle Montanez, Domenique Rowe, Jessica Hunter-Bass, Molik Liverman-Jones, Rachel Robinson, Ronald Lewis, Sharnae Moore, Shemar Simmons, Xavier Lee, Diamond Brooks, Georgyo Walkine
Artist Intern: Jason Talley

Location: PS 242 Hans Christian Anderson Complex, 134 West 122nd Street, Harlem. (mural on back wall, visible from 121st)
Community Partners: Trust for Public Land, Future Leaders Institute & P.S. 242


As one of six projects in Groundswell’s Summer Leadership Institute (SLI) Alumni from the Future Leadership Institute returned to their school to paint a mural celebrating the role of imagination in self-discovery.  

The Youth Artists began their design process by visiting the Schomberg Center, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and existing neighborhood murals. Participants also solicited guidance from members of the community. The Youth Artists opted to create a mural without straightforward historical or cultural iconography.  As many had a strong interest in animation and cartoons, the group selected this style to tell their story.

The mural’s title, “The Animation State,” illustrates the freedom animated people enjoy compared to their real-world counterparts. A child with pajamas – the main character – looks out the door imagining a bright, uninhibited world as (s)he lies in a dark and dreary bedroom. The character leaves behind a black and white world to enter a colorful world where (s)he travels through fantastic places and meets with fun and welcoming friends.  The character experiences nature, music, sports and dancing and eventually his/her path leads into the school building.  The character disappears with his/her feet sticking out from the entrance doorway.



“The Animation State” looks over a newly re-designed playground built by Trust for Public Land and is adjacent to “The Four Seasons,” a series of mosaics by Groundswell artist Alex Pimienta. “Nature’s Song,” a mural lead by Cornell Jones, is located on the 122nd Street entrance to the school.