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Boys & Girls replace graffiti with urban art

Boys & Girls replace graffiti with urban art

Members of the Ivanhoe Boys & Girls Club recently painted an urban art mural in Cutler Park.

The mural wall is part of unique career projects for Farmersville and Ivanhoe Club kids participating in art classes taught by instructor Erik Gonzalez. In January 2012, Erik founded the Urbanists Collective, an art group with a focus to promote the education and positive expansion of urban art within the community. The classes were made possible by a Fresno Regional Foundation Arts and Culture grant. Club members had classes at the Ivanhoe and Farmersville clubs over the summer. Questions about careers and career requirements were answered during an 8-session Diplomas to Degrees (d2D) class which ran concurrently with the Urban Art workshops. d2D is a program of Boys & Girls Clubs of America to encourage young people to attend college or other post-secondary education and to do well in high school.

d2D sessions help kids explore careers, helps them research required education for each career and exposes them to college life at different types of colleges. It provides guidance on how to apply and pay for college as well and helps them examine what to do to be a good student in high school.

Through collaboration with the Urbanists Collective, youth in these two communities learned about Urban Art (also known as graffiti art or spray art) through a series of participatory workshops culminating in the painting of two murals. This art format is the perfect way to attract youth who are not drawn to traditional forms of art.

The exploration of art and learning urban technique as well as completing the Career Launch and d2D programs with Boys & Girls Clubs was very successful. “The program was very well received by the kids and the end result is amazing to see at the park, says Galen Quenzer, Chief Operations Officer at Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias.

“The wall depicts the importance of water in our lives here in the valley and when the St. Johns River is flowing, the water goes right by the wall becoming part of the art.”

When completed the mural title will be “el Agua es Vida”, “Water is Life”. The focus of the mural is on beautification and water conservation outreach. The next mural to be completed will be in Farmersville. The location will be announced soon. The planned mural theme in Farmersville is Community and Academics.

Children age 6 to 18 can be a member and come to the Boys & Girls Clubs after school for only $10a year. If you would like to be a part of the solution and help kids to choose positive activities through Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias, visit www.bgcsequoias.org or call us at 559 592-4074.

Your donations will help children stay safe after school and become involved in their community in a positive way.

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