Summer CSGC Grant Update: Cultural Mural Project

Last year, I received a CSGC summer grant to paint a cultural mural on a section of fence leading up to EMC Park in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, a playground commonly visited by children. This mural was part of a larger cultural diversity project hosted by my town’s culture council that included multiple different murals on different segments of the fence. So far I have helped contribute two murals to the chain, one about Chinese culture that completed with a few friends back in 2020, and one about Mexican culture that I completed independently last year with the help of the CSGC grant. This year I would like to add a piece about autism to the growing wall.

This subject is particularly meaningful for me because my sister has autism. Growing up, I wasn’t told that she had a learning disability. I never questioned why my sister had to go to so many extra classes. So when my parents told me that the reason for all these extra classes and different needs was because she had autism, my first response was, “What is that?”

I believe that it is important that we raise more awareness for different learning disabilities, especially for younger children. I wish to accomplish that through the use of this mural.

Working with my sister, I have come up with a final design that is attached here. The smaller giraffe represents someone with autism while the two larger giraffes represent supportive friends and family. In the background are a rainbow infinity sign and butterflies, both symbols of autism. I want to show how autism is not a disability, but instead is a difference that should be embraced.

I plan to begin working on the mural in the coming weeks.

Looking forward to working on the mural!

-Kayleen ’25