Colors of Connection was founded by two friends, Laurie Reyman and Christina Mallie, who shared a passion for humanitarian work and love for the African continent.
Two things spurred its’ founders to create the organization. The first was the belief that art has an incredible power to impact people’s lives for the better: to transform, change and heal. The second was the conviction that there is a real and unmet need for psychosocial support for individuals and communities who face the stark and immensely challenging reality of rebuilding after war.
Laurie reached out to Christina, her friend who was an artist and educator in New York at the time with the idea. Together they developed this concept into a pilot project with the plan to engage 8 schools, 56 youth, and a council of local leaders to create 4 murals in public spaces around the town. They named the pilot project Visions of Hope with the stated goal: to bring people together and transform the physical landscape of the town into a positive visualization of the future people hoped for Harper and Liberia. They believed that this infusion of creative energy would be a catalyst for the community to move forward.
Art is usually at the bottom of the list of priorities in humanitarian assistance. But it was clear in this situation, where the country was heavily dependent on international aid, and artistic creativity was given little attention, that many people felt helpless, dependent, and stagnant. The success of the pilot project confirmed that art has a special transformational power to awaken people’s capabilities and inspire them to enact further positive change in their own life and in their community. Since then, the success of each successive project has deepened the commitment of Laurie and Christina to continue this much-needed and unique work.