Creating Community Through Art
Wattles Boys & Girls Club installs community-based mural with help of local partners
The mural is set to be complete December 12, 2015.
This project was inspired a year ago when gang-affected youth from the Latino Network and Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center, Inc. (POIC) came together for a game of basketball. However, instead of a competitive tournament or match between these two groups, Latino and African American youth were playing side by side. With the support of staff from both organizations, potentially violently contentious young people were able to build a foundation of trust and faith that enabled this truly unique event to blossom.
This basketball game inspired the artist Rodolfo Serna, who is also a case manager at Latino Network, to facilitate a similar side by side experience through large scale art. Serna envisioned a mural that told the multicultural stories of youth across Portland with images created by the youth themselves. Not only would the actual mural imagery display communities woven together, but the creation of the mural itself would provide a safe and catalytic space for gang-affected youth to collaborate. This public mural would broadcast the poignant message of healing that art can provide through a story specific to the youth of our city.