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Date: 2017-01-30

KIPP THRIVE Academy Partners with Yendor Arts to Create New Mural for Newark School Building

NEWARK, NJ (January XX, 2017) – On Saturday, January 28, KIPP THRIVE Academy will partner with Yendor Arts, a Newark arts association to create a new mural on the third floor of the school’s Newark building. As part of a service day at KIPP THRIVE Academy, the mural will be painted by students, staff and family members. Designed by muralist Jo El Lopez for Yendor Arts’ MuralEd education program, the new painting will represent the fundamental stepping stones of elementary education and how it can positively affect community growth, as well as promote higher education for underdeveloped communities.

“This mural will truly illustrate our school’s role in the Newark community,” said Lisa Bonnifield, the School Leader of KIPP THRIVE Academy. “It will also represent the progression from elementary school through to college, something we instill on our students the day they walk into KIPP THRIVE Academy. We hope that this new mural will help to teach our students that through positive service and hard work, their dreams are attainable.” From 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. K-2 students will perform service projects to benefit the Newark community such as painting benches, flower pots and picture frames. From 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. 3rd grade students will paint canvases to be donated to local organizations, while 4th grade students paint the hallway mural itself.

“Yendor is thrilled and honored to be chosen as a partner for this project,” said Rodney Gilbert, Yendor Arts’ Founder and Executive Director. “It gives us another platform to help us create art that extends beyond beautification purposes but a mural that will evoke some deeper meaning and promote a message that we all want our children to embody: Education is Power! Our MuralED program seeks to engage the scholars as they create a mural under the tutelage of the professional artist. It creates an opportunity for them to begin creating a legacy in their community, instilling a sense of pride.” “I am so proud of our dedicated students,” said Krystal Conwell, a KIPP THRIVE Academy teacher leading the project. “We have 560 students at our school and by involving them in service projects at a young age, we hope to teach them the importance of giving back and help promote positive ways for them to change their communities.”

KIPP THRIVE Academy is located at 229 18th Avenue in Newark, New Jersey’s Central Ward, and is home to KIPP NJ students from grades K-4. The academy is focused on preparing students for college from the day they start kindergarten.

About KIPP New Jersey

KIPP New Jersey schools are part of the nationally recognized “Knowledge Is Power Program” non-profit network of college-preparatory, public charter schools educating elementary, middle, and high school students. In 2002, KIPP New Jersey first opened its doors in Newark’s South Ward as a single class of 80 fifth graders and has since grown to serve over 4,500 students in grades K-12 in Newark and Camden. More than 88% of KIPP New Jersey students currently qualify for free or reduced meals.

In the next few years, KIPP New Jersey will have ten schools in Newark and five in Camden. By offering highly effective educators with strong bonds to families, more time in school learning, services that support a variety of student needs, and a culture focused on achievement, our students are on the path to and through college proving that demographics don’t define destiny. Visit to learn more.

About Yendor Arts
Yendor Arts was founded to alleviate the challenges experienced by underserved artists and communities as it relates to cultural and artistic expression. Yendor is dedicated to bringing the arts to the people, and we are deeply rooted in serving individuals within diverse communities. With an unwavering commitment to underserved populations, Yendor Arts fosters hope and healing through access to arts-integrated and cross-cultural programs and performances.

Today, under the vibrant leadership of its Founder and now Executive Director, Rodney Gilbert, Yendor Arts coordinates a plethora of programs that are executed in partnership with other active organizations in and around Newark with a vested interest in developing and sustaining the communities we work with. ADVANTAGE ARTS was recently created in partnership with Drew University and Newark Public School’s Office of Extended Learning. These civic engagement theatre class participants include Drew University students and Newark Public School scholars. Other notable programs include the NEWARK MURALS PROGRAM, ABANDONED LOT ARTS PROJECT (ALAP) and THE GATES INITIATIVE.

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