On the 100th anniversary of the Glen Echo Park Dentzel carousel, Montgomery County teens came together to paint an outdoor mural that depicts the fun and joy of the carousel, as well as its role in the civil rights movement. The project was a collaboration between Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture (the Partnership) and Future History Now (FHN), an Annapolis-based nonprofit that brings together youth from underserved communities and professional teaching artists to create murals.
In 1960, a group of Howard University students were arrested for riding the carousel in protest of Glen Echo Amusement Park’s segregation policies. The case was taken to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the students’ continued fight led to the park’s desegregation.
For this temporary artwork, FHN connected with kids from two Montgomery County nonprofit organizations: Community Bridges, which empowers young girls to reach their fullest potential, and Identity Inc., which supports Latino and underserved youth through physical, social, emotional and mental well-being programs.
“As an arts park celebrating the 100th anniversary of a carousel, our collaboration with FHN couldn’t be more perfect, because it involves working artists, children, history and community,” said Katey Boerner, executive director of the Partnership, in a recent press release. “The kids learned a lot from the wonderful teaching artists that work with FHN.”
One participant, 16-year-old Valerya of Gaithersburg, told WTOP that she was glad to learn the history of Glen Echo, adding, “It’s great meeting all the new people, and it’s great doing the artwork especially, and being out in the community, helping out.”
Student artists like Valerya spent all day on Saturday, May 22, painting the mural design that FHN’s artists outlined in advance. The colorful artwork will be on display in the park until the end of the carousel season in September.
“We are so honored and humbled to support the Glen Echo Partnership in celebrating the centennial anniversary of such an iconic and historic local landmark,” said Jeff Huntington, executive director and co-founder of FHN, in a recent press release. “Our goal for every mural project is to engage local youth to learn about the events, people, and places that shaped their communities. FHN knows that the leaders of tomorrow can thrive when they have these opportunities to leave their mark on future history.”