Art and Science Come Together for Meaningful Mural

Philadelphia is a bit brighter these days thanks to a collaborative effort between some talented people at Dow and the city’s Mural Arts organization. In the process, 10 students strengthened their science understanding while expressing themselves artistically.

“Frequencies” is a massive mural made up of about 150 panels displayed on a building in the city’s Hunting Park neighborhood. It started with a technical exchange in which experts from Dow’s Coating Materials and Construction Chemicals businesses shared some of their 60 years of paint and coatings know-how with the students and their mentors from Mural Arts. They visited the Company’s Paint Quality Institute in Spring House, Pennsylvania, to experience the science behind the mural-making materials.

“For us painters, it is like heaven … paints, sealers, coatings, research,” Mural Arts Founder and Executive Director Jane Golden said of the Paint Quality Institute. “(Dow is) always trying to think about how to do this better.”

Dow scientists also went to the community center where the students gathered after school to plan their project.

“I talked to them about paint and how paint works. The project dealt with designs and geometric patterns and the math aspects of those things,” said Brough Richey, one of the scientists who worked with the students. “We tried to engage them, and ask questions so they would think more deeply about the science behind the art. It turned out well. They were enthusiastic.”

Seeing an opportunity to get not only young people but a community excited about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), the Company expanded its partnership with Mural Arts. The Franklin Institute, one of the oldest and most respected centers of science education and development in the country, and the Philadelphia Science Festival, sponsored by Dow, joined the effort. Additional community partners soon joined.

“It’s fun interacting with kids,” Richey said of the experience. “I’d do it again.”

A four-minute video describing the project and displaying the mural can be seen online. The video has been entered in the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship Film Festival and we need your help to put a spotlight on Dow’s video. Cast your vote for Frequencies now! Winners are based on the number of votes received from the public by February 15 and will be announced at the 2016 International Corporate Citizenship Conference taking place March 20 – 22 in Atlanta.