The youth from the neighborhood participated in workshops with the designers to engage in the creative process of forming the story of the Wall.
Spectrum of different nationalities
AkzoNobel and MasterPeace partnered up with ‘New Dutch Connections’ to organize the Wall in Utrecht. The event took place in the neighbouring Overvecht, which consists of a diverse community. Not only 105 nationalities are present in this neighborhood, but also refugees call it their ‘home’. In order to bring these groups together, we planned a wall in the neighborhood that is becoming the ‘connection’ neighborhood.
Peace as a main motive
The Wall is located near a shopping mall and has the considerable size of 3 meters height and 12 meters width. Residents from Overvecht and youth from the refugee centre have painted the Wall. The mural will enhance the connection, neighborhood pride and ownership, since it is something carried out by whole community in Overvecht. Children were able to participate in the activities next to the wall painting done by other residents, refugees and AkzoNobel employees. With the painting of the wall, a positive vibe entered the whole neighborhood.
The design resembles the 105 nationalities living in the neighborhood and therefore ‘peace’ is written in multiple languages to appeal to everyone. This can be linked to the theme ‘inclusiveness’. The hands visualize the way peace can be carried by everyone and it symbolizes the belief that peace can spread worldwide. The connection-part of the Wall occurred through the mix of participants, who would not normally meet and work together.
Event for the whole community
Participants painting and participants dancing, the event engaged the residents of the neighborhood and a party took place during the painting process. The activities for children were available, bouncy cushion, djembe drumming and sidewalk chalking. This attracted a diverse group of people to become involved.
Further community involvement consisted these either came from the neighborhood, the refugee center, the Neighborhood Platform, the designer Connie Vissers or volunteers from New Dutch Connections, MasterPeace and AkzoNobel.
“I love the dynamics of the environment I live in, but I always felt there was more room for connecting with people from my neighborhood.
Being involved in Walls of Connection was a great way to get in touch with people I didn’t know and who share the same need or desire to connect with people. To be honest, every time I pass by the wall it makes me smile and feel proud.”
“A wall art project won’t change the whole neighborhood at once. But I saw some great connections being established between different people with different backgrounds. I hope the painting will stay there for a long time.”
Karel van Eechoud, resident, Utrecht, the Netherlands
Find out more about Flexa in the Netherlands here.