Local artist teams up with students to fight bullying

Local artist teams up with students to fight bullying

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by MICHELLE BOUDIN / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @MichelleBoudin

WCNC.com

Posted on March 27, 2013 at 5:53 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 28 at 9:53 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A local artist is teaming up with Charlotte-Mecklenburg students to help fight bullying through the school district's 'Making It Better' program.
 
You can often catch Keston Steele accidentally breaking into song around the campus at Northwest School of the Arts. The junior is the lead in the school show.

Before she came to the fine arts school, the 4-foot-11 actress says she was bullied about her height and the color of her skin.

“Being picked on and talked about, rumors and judged,” she recalled of her middle school days.

Today though, those are the same reasons she was chosen as one of the faces of diversity for a new anti-bullying campaign with local artist Edwin Gil.

Because he can relate, the artist brought the idea of 10 faces of diversity to the school system.

“When I was a child I had a lot of bullying from my friends at school,” Gil said.

“I want everybody to understand that nobody is the same and that’s a beautiful thing,” Steele say, explaining why she’s so excited to be part of the project.

Every student at the school is putting their fingerprint in paint, creating the frame.

“When we collect the thumbprints and we put around the face, we make a big quilt. To me, that is the community,” Gil expressed.

A school community is raising their voices against bullying, using art to send their message.

Steele added, “It needs to be a big message and it needs to be a part of everybody’s life.”
 
A grant helped pay for the first in the series of 10 portraits. They're hoping community donations will help pay for the rest. 

The 10 Faces of Diversity is a component initiative under Making It Better through Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. You can find more info at this site http://makingitbetter-cms.tv.

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