An art teacher from the Utica Community Schools District was recognized by the City of Utica and the Detroit Institute of Arts for her contribution to a mural done on the east side of the Utica Fire Department building in Utica.
Gail Borowski, an art teacher at Davis Junior High, was honored for her work on October 7, along with DIA studio artist Stephanie Sucaet-Felczak. The mural was designed and painted by Borowski as part of DIA’s Partners in Public Art (PIPA) program, which aims to foster collaboration between local communities and the museum and strengthen a sense of community through the art. Other art teachers and UCS students also helped paint the mural. The floral artwork was designed to reflect the community of Utica.
“Public works of art, like this collaborative mural, are a testament to the unique stories of each community and what we can accomplish together,” said Charles Garling, director of studio programs at DIA.
PIPA works with communities to co-create highly visible, community-driven public art works. The aim of the program is to help people explore, express and strengthen their sense of community through a common artistic experience. Borowski’s work was painted for three weeks in August.
Each project begins with residents and business owners in the particular community participating in a survey to gauge interest and preferences in a public art project. The results of the survey are then fed into the final project design. The PIPA program is funded under the Three County Mileage.
UCS Superintendent Robert Monroe stressed the importance of this partnership between the organizations involved in the mural, while highlighting the opportunity that this mural now offers to the community.
“It’s absolutely phenomenal,” said Monroe. “Can you think for a moment how inspiring a teacher who does this type of work can be in the classroom for the students?
“Behind a strong community is a strong school district, and UCS is very strong,” added Monroe. “We will be stronger in the future so that we can support initiatives like this in the future. “
The mural was made possible through the Partners in Public Art program, a DIA initiative to foster collaboration to strengthen a sense of community through art. It was painted over a three week period in August.
Borowski appreciated all the support that came together to support the project.
“I just want to say thank you very much to all of you,” Borowski said. “When you take a leap of faith like that, it takes a whole community to catch you, and that’s exactly what you did.”