Destination: American Mural Project

As we drive along Connecticut Route 8, it’s evident why the American Mural Project (AMP) chose Winsted—one of the first mill towns in Connecticut—to showcase the largest indoor collaborative artwork in the world. Measuring 120 feet long, 48 feet high, and up to 10 feet deep when it is completed, the mural will be a visual history of America over the last half century through its workers.

The first sounds we hear as we walk into the newly renovated mill building are children’s voices and metal grinding. Founder and artist Ellen Griesedieck is busy assembling pieces of the mural and preparing them to be affixed to the giant armature while elementary students in AMP’s after-school enrichment program create story drums about the work they aspire to do.

As a hub for community and regional programs and events and as a national tourist destination, AMP will play a major role in the economic and social revitalization of the region.

Griesedieck radiates excitement as she describes the future of AMP: “We’ve worked with people across the country to help create pieces of the mural, to honor those who work on our behalf and go unnoticed, and in the process have helped give them—particularly young people—incentive about what work they will choose to do. That’s why I always say that AMP is a tribute and a challenge.” Griesedieck tells us that more than 15,000 children and adults have helped create pieces of the mural, and an additional 30,000 from all 50 states are expected to help finish the project.

Through in-school residencies, after-school and summer arts programs, and a robust internship program, AMP’s art-based learning opportunities focus on collaboration, problem-solving, and creative innovation.

It’s this intersection of art and work that Newman’s Own Foundation has helped support for the last several years. With many programs already underway, AMP will also be hosting open tour days and special events later this year, with opportunities to see the mural installation progress. The mural will become a destination for educational programs, summer enrichment activities, lectures, and workshops. In addition, a multi-subject curriculum based on the mural is now in pilot programs in local schools, and an online version is in development.

For other destinations we’ve visited on our Road Trip, click here or the map below.

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