E.C. Reems Academy


Unleashing the Power of Color

Project Color Corps passionately committed to its first large-scale pilot project at the E.C. Reems Academy of Technology and Arts in Oakland, CA.

Color is a powerful language, a simple change agent that can often express what words cannot. When we enter a space, approach a building, or are surrounded with beautiful color, it can satiate our desires, inspire us to dream, and empower us to create the world as we wish to see it.
— Laura Guido-Clark, Founder, Project Color Corps

Paint a School and Empower a Community!

The E.C. Reems Academy is a K-8 extended elementary charter school located in one of California’s most at-risk and disadvantaged communities – East Oakland. One of their guiding principles is: “Encouraging creativity to bring forth new ideas and achieve higher levels of living.”

And yet, the school was visually depressing, with layers of peeling paint on a dull exterior. Lisa Blair, its dynamic and founding principal, explained, "Our community is very drab. The colors are mostly tans and browns—like prison colors. This is the world our children live in: one with no vibrancy, no direction, no enthusiasm, and very little hope. If you’re sent from a home in disrepair to a school in the same condition, the message is ‘You are not worth anything. There is no place for you in this society and no one cares.’ But if the opposite occurs, if our kids were to walk into a school that is inviting and bright, the message becomes, ‘Come in, dream big. It’s your world, not ours!'"


The Project at E.C. Reems Academy

Our project included:

  • Color workshop:  Project Color Corps hosted a workshop with students, teachers and parents to teach how color is a powerful language of expression that can create a sense of ownership, empowerment, and pride. The goal was to engage the school in defining a visual message that reflected who they are—the soul of the school community.
  • Design charrette:  After the workshop, the community was presented with color palettes and pattern designs that expressed their school. They voted to select their favorite.
  • Exterior painting:  Over the summer of 2012, the exterior of the school was painted by a professional contractor and volunteer artists and muralists.
Imagine the excitement the students will feel when they step into a fresh and new environment in September 2012! You have our support and gratitude for allowing us to be a part of something so extraordinary and yet so ordinary as adding color to a world that is more often than not, shades of gray. I hope our community will grow from this experience and use color to form their attitudes and desire to experience life at its fullest. Thank you for caring about people and communities. Our facility is your canvas.
— Principal Blair


The Results