The importance of art for life is something that I have spent more time contemplating, and discussing with people in conversations and also among people with whom we are working than ever in my life. Still in Monrovia, I wonder how people will understand an arts project, especially amidst the current influx of refugees. 10,000 Ivorian refugees have arrived in the past week and a half to Maryland County, and 10,000 returnees – Liberians who previously migrated to the Ivory Coast. Numbering around 20,000 they are staying in a transit camp just outside of Harper. It seems that the benefit of arts is not fully believed in as an essential part of life, no matter what country you are from. But in Harper it will be an even bigger leap for people to understand that this project is valuable for the community. As the refugee population grows in Harper and more NGO workers in Harper are focusing on the lifesaving relief for the Ivorian refugees, this understanding of the value of arts may be a greater challenge to grasp.
I picture my first day on top of scaffolding painting the front entrance of the Market in downtown Harper (that has luckily been given to us to use for a mural space) and I try to imagine the reactions of the Liberian community and the NGO workers. The arts and their value is difficult to measure, but I hope that the impact of our work can convince the community how important this project is for Harper.