SCAD SERVE Debuts ‘Paint Our Parks’ Initiative in Savannah

Updated December 20, 2022 at 7:44 p.m.

Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) recently announced the “Paint Our Parks” SCAD SERVE public art initiative, with the unveiling of a brilliant large-scale mural enlivening the playground at Coastal Middle School in Chatham County.

Envisioned by SCAD President and Founder Paula Wallace, organizers say the project is focused on serving the citizens of Savannah (and Atlanta) through the “creativity, expertise and altruism of SCAD’s supremely talented network of students and alumni.”  

Since the initiative launched in fall 2021, five playgrounds, basketball courts, and other recreational spaces have been painted in Atlanta.  The playground mural at Coastal Middle School marks the first for Savannah.

“This SCAD SERVE initiative comprises our sixth SCAD POP transformation, and we’re not finished yet, because in 2023, SCAD is bringing transformative outdoor art to five more middle school playgrounds in the Savannah Chatham-County School System. SCAD POP never stops!” said Wallace.

click to enlarge SCAD SERVE Debuts ‘Paint Our Parks’ Initiative in Savannah

This public arts beautification project was developed in partnership with the Savannah Chatham County Public School System.  

SCAD contributed significant funds for the restoration of the Coastal Middle School playground’s court surface, and towards the creation of a larger-than-life mural.  

click to enlarge SCAD SERVE Debuts ‘Paint Our Parks’ Initiative in Savannah
Alumni artist Peach Tao

More than 100 SCAD SERVE students, faculty, and staff volunteered.  They started painting on December 5 and contributed more than 480 hours to this project - using more than 150 gallons of special acrylic paint.

“SCAD has given our students and our community the most amazing gift - a gift that combines art, joy, and play.  The SCAD POP team transformed what was an eye soar of an outdoor space into a work of art,” said principal Allison Schuster-Jones.  “Our Parent Teacher Student Association has been working to beautify the space for years, but SCAD swept in and worked their magic as only they can.  Our students, families, and community will enjoy this amazing spot for years to come.  Thank you SCAD!”

SCAD alumnae Peach Tao (B.F.A., illustration and printmaking, 2010) designed the mural.  She used Coastal Middle School’s vibrant yellow and grounding navy brand colors to unify geometric design elements inspired by native American tribes in Georgia—the Cherokee and Creek peoples.

“Meeting and working with people from all walks of life rejuvenates me. I have witnessed the power of community-centered public art, how elevated design instills joy and hope and creates a connection between passersby and the creatives involved in the mural installation,” said Tao. “I’m proud, excited, and grateful to create this design and contribute my skills to an initiative as positive as SCAD POP! This is my opportunity to give back to the gorgeous second hometown I spent my formative years in. I’m humbled to share life lessons with fellow SCAD bees on a creative journey similar to mine when refining my visual voice and professional skills as a SCAD student.”

The Brooklyn-based illustrator, muralist, and printmaker loves creating whimsical images inspired by her environment and worldly travels. She aspires to design works that evoke the feeling of having a delicious sweet on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Peach’s impactful murals are located in schools, hospitals, businesses, and public spaces throughout New York City and her hometown in Beijing, China.

According to organizers, SCAD SERVE will continue working with local schools, civic and community leaders bringing these thrilling murals to deserving communities and neighborhoods.

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Published December 20, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

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