Director of Community Building & Organizing Stephen Cremin-Endes reflects on our history with Kwadwo:
“I am not sure when I first met Kwadwo Adea or how but I remember a couple of things that struck me with Kwadwo from the very beginning and they remain to this day. First and foremost, he is a kind, thoughtful and generous person. He is also an amazing artist and an excellent writer. The first mural we did was the Elm City Footrace in 2016. then we moved onto the Women’s Empowerment Mural 2018, followed by Sparrows in 2020 followed by Bouchet Mural 2021.
The reason that working with him is important for NHS is because it helps us fulfill our mission of “positioning neighborhoods to succeed.” Kwadwo is also a true community muralist. He is connected to the places in which he works and he listens to people extremely well. He also knows how to embrace individual and community pain and to help people move toward healing thru his personhood and highly-honed artistic skills.
So, when our Executive Director Jim Paley made a commitment to building affordable homeownership in Newhallville, Community Building and Organizing went to the places that had the most difficulty – where there was a tear in the social fabric if you will. The ‘mudhole’ on Shelton Avenue being one of them. Partnering with people like Doreen Abubakar, Aaron Goode, Lisa Fernandez and Chris Ozyck allowed NHS to bring its resources (grant writing, community building and organizing) to begin the collective mending process.
When the Farmington Canal opened up, it was not clear if this was going to be a safe space. Kwadwo’s work speaks for itself on the canal and has encouraged other muralists.
Seeing hundreds of residents put paint to a paintbrush, and then paintbrush to the wall to create such beautiful works of art is so rewarding. Residents see the murals and the art speaks to them. Many people have a personal connection because they can say, “I did this part!”
Helping people see that we are part of a collective is the reason NHS continues to support this work. Just maybe this collective action will help provide for renewed faith in better days to come and a commitment to working towards that.”