“I saw how powerful color was as a medium and felt that color could enliven communities, that it was a powerful medium that could create an emotional connection and help people feel good about being in their environments,” said Project Color Corps (PCC) founder, Laura Guido-Clark. PCC is a volunteer non-profit organization that is transforming inner cities all over California with color and art. Their mission is to provide messages of aspiration and positivity to the communities that they work with. PCC was founded in 2011 by Berkeley High School parent Laura Guido-Clark. She had worked with big corporations in the past, and had seen the impact color can have on people’s emotions. PCC uses feedback from the community to find the design that will make the most impact. The kids in the community are encouraged to participate by choosing colors and schemes that represent them. “Over the past seven years, Project Color Corps has developed an innovative process that utilizes color and color education to revitalize schools and community centers through a unique participative, co-design process,” said Guido-Clark.
PCC has worked to help brighten and revitalize schools, community centers, and other organizations of this type, where people from the neighborhood spend a lot of their time. “Now I feel happier when I come to school everyday,” said a Cambridge Elementary student in a thank you letter to PCC. In the letter, a student described the feelings that they experience upon coming to school, saying, “Now everyday when I see the mural, it makes [me feel] strong.”
PCC’s most recent project was to work on a new Caliber school in Vallejo. The Caliber school’s mission is “to achieve educational equity by shifting the experiences, expectations, and outcomes for students in historically underserved communities,” according to their website. PCC volunteered to paint murals on the school, attempting to make it more vibrant and welcoming for all students.
They strived to include everyone in the color and theme decision making process. “We love to collaborate on the design with the community and the kids to create a vision for each project,”
said Guido-Clark. “That vision reflects the unique essence of the community and the children within it.”
The school took a vote in order to see which options they felt most represented them as a school and community. The goal of this is to give everyone a voice, even if they typically don’t have one. “We are dedicated to listening, teaching, and implementing physical change in underserved communities through the power of color.”
In addition to input on the design and color, the students and community are encouraged to take part in the painting process. The point of this is to give them something meaningful, something that when they look at it, they can feel proud and say, “Yeah! I helped paint that.”
The hope is to give students ownership and pride in their schools, making them more excited about what is there waiting for them.