Soaring High with Brave Bird and the ELM Foundation
Nurtured by Colossal’s commitment to community, Colossal founded its social responsibility initiative: Start Today. In a world where businesses have huge impacts on their surroundings, Colossal is dedicated to making sure that our impact is always a positive one. The goal of Start Today is to remain socially accountable to ourselves, our stakeholders, and the public spaces we paint in every day. The initiative provides Colossal staff with a platform to get creative about ways to uplift our communities, artists, and the causes we care about.
Through Start Today, Colossal staff are given the opportunity to participate in multiple community projects, including public murals, fundraisers, volunteer hours, and shop tours. Our latest collaboration with the ELM Foundation was a special one, involving a multitude of projects where our Colossal team could contribute.
Colossal Media was initially introduced to the ELM Foundation through the procurement of one of our media walls. It sits right atop their gallery headquarters! Our relationship with the ELM team inevitably grew as we re-painted their wall over the years. Eventually, Start Today got inspired and initiated a collaboration with ELM, which provided Colossal’s team with an opportunity to learn more about the ELM history.
ELM stands for Emma Lauren McCoy, daughter of its founder Melinda McCoy, and inspiration for the creation of this nonprofit organization. Emma is one of many survivors of devastating childhood trauma, which unattended can lead to psychological issues impacting personal development, coping skills, and cognitive function. However, Melinda McCoy realized how impactful artistic expression could be in healing (and in some cases reversing) these effects.
ELM is home to multidisciplinary art education programming that advocates for, and shares, the benefits of art therapy for children experiencing parental loss or family structure adjustments. Through participation in these programs, children are encouraged to grow their love of the arts and explore self-expression as a means of self-healing.
These art education programs cover everything from screen printing to DJ-ing to mural making – and that’s where Colossal’s Start Today program comes in! Being experts in the world of hand paint, we wanted to give back to the young people in our shared community by collaborating in the ELM Mural Course curriculum.
Guided by supporting foundation member, Paul Eisenberg, this course teaches high school students the ins and outs of mural making, both logistically and professionally. The goal of this course is not only to educate but also to build the confidence of its students by showing them that they too can execute a mural through the application of strategy and technique.
Start Today became a proud element of this course, providing an opportunity for students to receive a behind-the-scenes look into how hand paint companies accomplish large-scale works. From patterning to paint mixing, these students were able to absorb years’ worth of mural wisdom that they can use for future mural ventures. Colossal Media was proud to donate over 30 gallons of specialized oil-based enamel paints as well as the volunteered expertise of Colossal’s paint team.
Together, the ELM mural students and Colossal’s Start Today volunteers completed a breathtaking mural for all of Williamsburg to enjoy. The design, created by the students and influenced by the illustration and poetry of Emma Lauren McCoy, depicts the ELM mascot, Brave Bird, soaring high over a range of stormy gray to peaceful white clouds. This mural is meant to inspire its viewers to mirror Brave Bird, by overcoming adversity through “the healing power of art.”
Colossal Media has and always will be an advocate for the arts. By way of Start Today, we continue to platform organizations like the ELM Foundation through our craft, by building awareness both internally at Colossal and externally in our communities, and by driving sustainable change in the world around us.
A special thanks to our Colossal team members who shared their time, compassion, and skills in support of this Start Today initiative: Nicholas Cummins, Keren Hasson, Vanessa Kreytak, Chris Moran, Samara Nelson, Gabe Nieto, Kate Sherman, and Janine Taylor.