Paint Jamaica is a street-art movement that focuses on using mural art as a vehicle for social change.
In February 2020 just weeks before the pandemic hit, we met with members of ‘Paint Jamaica’ to discuss and finalize the sponsoring of an Art Project. The project was scheduled to commence in 2020 but had to be postponed indefinitely as a result of the unpredictable lockdowns and curfews imposed by the Jamaican Government as a response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
After more than a year of lockdowns and curfews, the government relaxed the terms, which allowed for group meetings outdoor and gave room for Paint Jamaica to commence the project. Today we are happy to finally present the first pictures.
Paint Jamaica chose the ‘Freedom Skate Park’ as location because it allowed them to engage the community in a safe way during the still ongoing pandemic.
Freedom Skatepark is the first street skatepark in Jamaica, located in Bull Bay/ St. Andrew. A public skatepark that is free and accessible to the whole community of Kingston and the surrounding areas.
The Freedom Skatepark project was inspired by the untimely and calamitous death of Andre ‘Wildfiyah’ Thompson, a 20-year old Jamaican skateboarder who was murdered in 2009. Andre expressed his wish for a skatepark to be available to the youth in Jamaica. Following his death Andre’s mother Lorraine Jones took up her son’s wish as a personal mission. Today, more than a decade later, she sits on the Freedom Skatepark Committee and has finally seen the project realized. The skatepark is dedicated in her son’s honor.
The committee has focused on tackling violence with Education and Skateboarding, with collaboration from the Concrete Jungle Foundation. They utilize skateboarding as a means to advocate for personal and community development.
The Freedom Skatepark is more than just a skating ground. It also offers an free after-school homework program for the children in the community. They are supported by a local tutor 4 days per week who assists with core subjects.
This positive and safe space of the Skatepark – with its mixture of free sport and educational offerings, supporting respect, courage, and a positve attitude to life in general – makes it a perfect place to add the beautifying and meaningful murals done by the various artists from the Paint Jamaica collective.
Paint Jamaica along with the Concrete Jungle Foundation undertook a community mural arts project at the Freedom Skate Park in Bull Bay, St. Thomas.
All efforts were directed towards the beautification of the park, social intervention and collaborative community engagement, accomplished through mural arts provided by the artist and other volunteers.
The project facilitated about 25 artists and volunteers for seven and a half weeks. The artists and volunteers painted approximately 2049(ft²) of the surounding walls in various themes reflecting the park, community and life of Bull Bay.
The process included several phases that saw artist’s engaging with community members for idea generation and feedback on the artworks that were to be done. They engaged park users and other members of the community to participate in the process of finding themes and topics to be displayed on the walls as well as volunteering in the painting works.
HELP Jamaica! representatives just went to Jamaica and visited the Freedom Skatepark. They were overwhelmed by the impact the place has, not only for the community of Bull Bay, but for kids and youths from all over East Jamaica.
A very uplifting and inspiring place, pushing Skateboarding, Roller Skates and hosting a lot of other activities. Working with volunteers and giving so much positive spirit to the kids and youths on the ground.
Thanks to the Paint Jamaica project we got in contact with the organizers of the Freedom Skatepark and are currently talking about how HELP Jamaica! can assist the continuation of this great initiative and it’s projects in the future.
Watch out for more news soon…..