Audubon Mural Project

Swainson's Hawk by Sarah Kenny Werner and Harlem Educational Activities Fund

Location: 564 W. 149th St., New York, NY 10031

Painted: 5/5/2019

Sponsored: In memory of Eleanor

Climate Threat: Swainson's Hawks are scrappy, opportunistic feeders that snap up a wide range of prey on their wintering, migration, and breeding grounds out West, including caterpillars, bats, and snakes. Audubon’s climate models show a steep decline in their summer range, with 70 percent less ground by 2080.

About the Artists: The gifted middle school students of the Harlem Educational Activities Fund’s “Fine Arts in a Democratic Context” course develop techniques to learn how to nurture their stories, share them with each other, and teach others what they learn (with the support of their teacher, Sarah Kenny Werner). This semester, their objective was to understand their right to connect to and care about green spaces despite their existence in an urban environment. They learmed how we exist in this specific ecosystem and why we exist in this specific ecosystem—and how digging deeper into these questions unearths political and social injustices that we have the power to act upon and change through our art. Though these students have a wide range of interests (whether their chill time involves “Fortnight,” K-Pop, or Riverdale; whether they live to ice skate, debate, or ball; whether they want to be chefs, lawyers, or video game designers), they all work together to achieve these objectives and tell their collective story. 

Video: Christine Lin/Audubon

The Artist on the Mural: “In choosing the Swainson’s Hawk, the students mentioned a number of factors: its physical strength, its clarity of vision, its social nature (often traveling together and gathering in group—much like them), and its aesthetic elegance.”

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