On Friday, Sept. 3, Sherman Middle School staff unveiled two new murals focused on equity, created by the Dane Arts Mural Arts (DAMA).
American Family Insurance and Salesforce collaborated with DAMA to promote equity through artwork through the Adopt-A-School Program.
“Well, the mural is a unique project. We partner with three different schools in the Madison area: Lake View Elementary, Sherman Middle School, and East High School. We’ve been working with Sherman for the past seven years,” said Jeff Close, the Talent Acquisition Unit Manager at American Family Insurance.
Adopt-A-School’s events have evolved amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, as they typically coordinate recognition events and assist with eighth-grade graduation ceremonies, Close said.
Over recent years, the program has invested in improving the physical landscape of Sherman Middle School and making contributions to upgrade the music room and instruments within the school. Development activities such as mock interviews, career panels, team-building exercises, and inspirational speeches from brand ambassadors are also provided to students via Adopt-A-School stated Close.
“DAMA were the ones that painted the murals; however, the goal and the intention was actually to have the kids partake, but with COVID, we weren’t able to do that. That said, the kids were able to be included, and that was a huge component of this for us,” said Maggie Pascaly, the Community Investment Manager at American Family Insurance.
Pascaly described the students’ desire for the murals to represent dreaming fearlessly and equality.
“We wanted to be very intentional with their inputs and what those words meant to them and embody that in these murals,” Pascaly said.
“It’s been a great partnership, and we’ve been working with the new principal on what the partnership is going to look like moving forward from here,” Close said.
Sherman Middle School’s new principal Alex Thompson was pleased to be a part of the inclusive initiative that set out to break racial barriers, stating that the murals would be in place for “quite some time.”
Thompson emphasized that having artwork representing the students’ inner values, which also reflects upon the vision and focus of the school, is integrally essential and extraordinary.
“I’m extremely proud of the staff and students that we have here. Of course, Black Excellence is a core vision of MMSD and a core vision of mine,” Thompson said. “To ensure that our students are successful, we know that we need to focus heavily on our black students. As statistics have shown that the pandemic has impacted them immensely, I’m proud of the work that we’ve done to show our community what we’re about.”