June 29, 2022

PARJE Selects Lead Artists for Sister Murals in Old Lyme, New London

An opening frame from the time-lapse video by Emida Roller shows the Sister Mural in Norwich, which was unveiled on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 2022.

OLD LYME/NEW LONDON — This spring, Public Art for Racial Justice Education (PARJE) will bring its Sister Murals Project to Old Lyme and New London.

PARJE, which was officially launched March 1, 2021, utilizes the broad appeal of art and education to confront racial injustice. Last month, after the unveiling of its first Sister Mural in Norwich on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the group has now partnered with two more artists; Jasmine Oyola-Blumenthal in Old Lyme, and Marvin Espy in New London. 

Lead artist for the Old Lyme Sister Mural is Jasmine Oyola-Blumenthal.

Oyola-Blumenthal will serve as the lead mural artist for the Old Lyme mural. She joins the Sister Murals Project as an alumna of Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts and is looking forward to her homecoming there.

The Old Lyme Sister Mural will be installed inside Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School,  adjacent to the gymnasium. In addition to her role as lead artist, Oyola-Blumenthal will work with school faculty to develop student workshops, which will coordinate with the project. 

Oyola-Blumenthal and her counterpart, Marvin Espy, in New London were selected from a field of nearly 20 applicants.

In her application, Oyola-Blumenthal referred to the ability for art to inspire people to talk to one another saying, “Art is a neutral vessel that can bring forth conversations that can be uncomfortable and promote opportunities to open dialogue on racial justice and education.”

Oyola Blumenthal also has extensive experience working with students.  

Marvin Espy is the lead artist for the New London Sister Mural.

Espy, the lead artist for the New London mural, is also committed to involving and empowering area youth through art and education. From mentoring young artists to promoting art therapy, Espy appreciates the countless applications of art.

Discussing the potential for Sister Mural sites to be safe spaces that assist in facilitating difficult conversations, Espy tells Eddie Long, PARJE Co-Chair, “What  excites me the most about this project is the chance to hear from the community, especially the  students.” 

Espy is a transplant to New London, but the local community has gotten to know him quite well. His  studio is inside the Dewart Building, which houses the studios of several New London artists. Last summer, Espy had a popular solo exhibition, ‘Patina,’ at the Thames River Gallery in New London.

The Sister Mural in New London will be installed in Fulton Park, which is located on Water Street. Easily walkable from New  London’s downtown, Fulton Park includes basketball courts as well as a playscape for children. The large space is nestled between two large apartment complexes and the New London Police Department. In 2018, Charlie King, owner of Hive Skate Shop in New London, led a successful effort to have a skate park built on the grounds of Fulton Park.  

With the help of RiseUP for Arts and CT Murals, PARJE will install five Sister Murals in five towns:  Norwich, Old Lyme, New London, East Lyme, and Old Saybrook.  

Public Art for Racial Justice Education is a broadly-based, interracial, non-partisan, non-sectarian organization consisting of volunteers from all around southeastern Connecticut.

For regular updates on the progress of the Sister Murals Project, check out Public Art for Racial Justice Education on Facebook and Instagram.  

For additional information, email racialjusticeart@gmail.com or visit racialjusticeart.org.

Editor’s Note: This article is based on a press release issued by PARJE.