Although we live in the Age of Instant Communication, the sad truth, for most children, is that they have little access to creative outlets to express their inner life. (The cacophony of contemporary life has made it difficult even for adults to find this type of space, let alone young people.) Working as a Visiting Artist near the North Carolina-Virginia border, I developed GROWING UP IN AMERICA as a safe platform for children to express their feelings, hopes, and fears through art.


GROWING UP IN AMERICA, a model university-community college-public school project, involved rural students creating a large-scale mural, as well as writing essays and poems inspired by the question: “What does it mean to grow up in America today?” Working in collaboration with Guest Muralist Dr. Rikki Asher (Head of Queens College, City University of New York, Dept. of Arts Education), hundreds of children participated in both the mural and creative writing efforts, with the Greensboro News & Record publishing select original poems and stories.


Rockingham County Grassroots Arts Council grant (subgranted funds from the North Carolina Arts Council); Rockingham Community College Foundation grant; private contributions and Rockingham County public school donations.


“Art students…. are creating a time capsule of sorts-but not one that will be buried for decades…. The glimpse of this moment in time [is] a mural entitled Growing Up In America.”
– Greensboro News & Record

“I can think of no other project that has had such a gathering of support and cooperation among the public schools, the students, RCC, and the local artists. What a success!”
– Dr. Robert C. Keys, President, Rockingham Community College