“How are you feeling today?”
It�s a simple question — one that artist Cierra Lynne feels is not asked enough in some communities. Lynne used to be an art teacher and she�s aware of how hard it can be for kids to talk about their feelings, especially at inner city schools where mental health resources are often lacking.
Lynne started creating murals in bathrooms years ago to help bring awareness to mental health issues and to promote self-love and positivity in schools. She calls her project the �Affirm It With Art� initiative, and its quickly catching on. She recently partnered with actress Taraji P. Henson�s �Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation,� a mental health foundation made to honor Henson�s late father who suffered from PTSD as a war veteran.
Together, Henson and Lynne hope to spread awareness and erase the stigma that comes along with mental health issues by creating murals in schools across the country. When asked why she uses bathroom stalls as the backdrops for her brightly colored murals, Lynne says it�s the first place kids go to when they�re feeling anxious.
�With my experience teaching art in inner city schools, I�ve noticed a decrease in self-esteem and an increase in bullying and suicide. The bathrooms have always been the place where kids would hook class at, but now it has become a place of solace,� she told Because Of Them We Can.
The murals use bold colors and imagery with affirmations like �I am enough� and �You are not too small to make a big difference� hand-painted on bright backgrounds. Each stall is unique and promotes a different message of positivity and self-love. She hopes that, when students enter the bathroom and see the murals, they�re uplifted and reminded that they�re loved � or in more extreme instances, she hopes they can save a life.
�I believe in the power of words using affirmations to manifest things. It is my hope, through my artwork, I can encourage and empower the youth to make a positive choice,� Lynn said.
If you can�t afford the cost of a mural (Lynne�s custom projects start at over $3,600), why not create your own works of art to encourage self-love and mental health awareness in your community? You may not be able to cover a school�s bathroom stalls, but you can start with a small project at home, like positing positive messages for your family to see each day.
Let�s work together to #StartSomethingGood.
(Source: images @theartistcierralynn)