Editor’s Note: In Spring 2014, Cynida’s artwork was included in the Teens Curate Teens exhibitions “Rose From the Concrete,” a collaboration between ArtsConnection and No Longer Empty. Cynida went on to be an ArtsConnection all-star, participating in Summer TRaC and even interning for the Student Art Program! Part 1 was about Cynida’s experience as an artist in “Rose From the Concrete.” Part 2, below, describes Cynida’s artistic process while making her piece with her partner Cleon. Learn more about Teens Curate Teens and apply to become a teen curator of the spring 2015 exhibition.

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Cleon O. and Cynida D., Untitled, (2014) Medium: Plaster, wood Urban Assembly for Design & Construction Teacher: Keith Mendak


My partner Cleon and I got our idea for our artwork from a video we watched in U.S. history class about the Statue of Liberty. We thought this concept supported our vision of Sugar Hill as a diverse community full of many different kinds of people. It translates to both architecture and education as well because it is a world-famous piece of work, a marvel to many people, and a great piece of New York history. The statue was initially given to the U.S by the French as a present to symbolize their friendship New York City almost lost the Statue of Liberty to another state because it did not have money to fund the base of the statue but by having the community come together and donate what little everyone had, New York was able to proudly display Lady Liberty in their harbor..

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Teen visitors take a close look at Cynida and Cleon’s artwork.

Our artwork started out as two pieces, the Statue of Liberty sculpture and the world behind it. We came up with the form and then figured out what it represented. After that, we sketched out what it would look like. Later, we worked with the medium of plaster which is very temperamental because you have to get the right consistency and it starts to harden very fast after it gains consistency. We combined plaster with cloth to form a strong structure and to get the effect of folds in the fabric. After we finished we used wood inside to strengthen it and to make the crown. The second part used mainly plywood and wood finish; we cut out the shapes of the continents with power tools and then painted them with wood finish to give them a glossy look. After that we positioned the continents around the circle and hanged the sculpture on the backboard and it became a single fantastic piece.

Through this process I was able to learn about site-specific work and gain experience working with different materials. Creating this piece has been one of the best things that I have ever done because through it I have gotten to know myself better and the things that I am capable of creating by learning the right skills.

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Cynida and Cleon present their original artwork at the opening of the Teens Curate Teens exhibition, Rose from the Concrete.