Coloring and creating community together
// By Jacqueline Brennan
You’ll be called upon to do a lot of things at Upswell. Forge new partnerships. Address big challenges. Exchange lessons learned. Examine best practices. Color on the walls. Wait, what? You heard right.
You’ve gotta do something different to find innovative ways to address society’s toughest challenges. Something out of the ordinary. Something unconventional, maybe even a little crazy – like reclaiming your childhood spontaneity and digging into the “crayon box” to color a gigantic community mural with other changemakers – right on the wall of Upswell’s Public Square!
The 4 by 8 feet mural will remind you of a page from a giant adult coloring book, with a black-and-white sketch of community as illustrated by artist Talya Weinberg, who co-founded Coloring on the Wall with her husband Dave.
The idea got its start in the fall of 2017 when Talya, then an art teacher, was asked by her principal to decorate her classroom bulletin board. Compliments on her artistic design grew into requests for copies of the colorful mural she created, and then orders for custom-designed pieces began coming in. She ultimately left the classroom, turning her special talent to encourage “coloring together” into a socially conscious business venture.
According to Talya, “Upswell is about changemakers coming together from all over to build a better world. That’s exactly what we set out to do when we came up with the concept for ‘Coloring On the Wall’ – helping people and community come together.”
To nail the concept for this special piece for Upswell, Talya will start by researching and collecting references for images that universally convey community, no matter who you are. Then she’ll begin to sketch, deciding “where things should be placed, and going with the flow to flesh out the design and details.” Once the sketch is set, Talya digitizes the image to keep the proportions intact, enlarging it to 4 by 8 feet in size.
“Coloring makes us feel happy,” Talya says, “It’s a different approach to socializing in a relaxed atmosphere that says we’re all here for each other. It will help create just the right environment for Upswell attendees to stand together to color a beautiful community – and that’s a mission that we all believe in.”