"An Art of the People"
I think it is a time that we live in right now where this idea of art as a way to express deeply held feelings and ideas of the common people is really important...
In the following interview, Relani Prudhomme, who was a student at St. Lawrence University when the Letellier murals were painted, discusses her role in the planning of the community mural (above). This mural was designed by the artists of the Letelier Brigade based on themes that were important to members of the local community, who later participated in the painting of the mural. Relani acted primarily as a liaison with the community, facilitating community participation in choosing the themes of the mural and painting the designs envisioned by the artists of the Letelier Brigade.
She also discusses the mural itself, pointing out some themes that she believes may have been relevant at the time, including issues of B-52 bombers from Fort Drum flying over the North Country, the proposed cutting down of trees to build electrical transformers, and the idea of “a common thread” between those struggling in Central America and those living in the North Country. It's important to note that while she suggests that one section of the mural might be a reference to factory farming, further research has determined that the symbol is a reference to paper mills that were causing pollution to local farmland. Photos of these elements are available below.
Finally, Relani discusses the way this project impacted her own life, teaching her the importance of the process of creating this kind of art, which truly belongs to the whole community, and inspiring her future endeavors.