Meet the young artists whose mini-murals now adorn a dozen traffic-signal boxes/cabinets along Delridge Way SW, from SW Andover to SW Henderson (map). We mentioned the project Thursday night; on Friday afternoon, their three weeks of work concluded with a wrap party. While the celebration was inside Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, where the project was based, everyone took a field trip outside to the site where we photographed them – a painted box across from the south side of Youngstown. Also on hand (at left in the top photo, as well as seen below), artist Andrew Morrison and teacher Tess Gamez, who worked with the youth:
Morrison talked about how the work – for which the young artists were paid, as part of the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture’s Work Readiness Art Program and the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative – taught life skills, such as showing up on time and taking responsibility to get a job done. Tess talked about how the kids got to be known in the neighborhood while working along the three-mile stretch, and how near the end someone even stopped by with snacks for the kids. Half the mini-murals follow progression of the salmon life cycle, while the rest feature other sea-life themes. Meantime, more mural work is ahead for next year:
Youngstown director David Bestock says larger murals will be painted next summer along that wall facing Delridge, as well as retaining walls in the center’s parking lot, and he’ll be pursuing funding for that work in the meantime. Since Youngstown – the historic Cooper School – is a city landmark, he had to go to the Landmarks Board this month to get approval for those future murals, and he says it was a unanimous “yes” vote. Along with the programs noted above, he points out that this all began in partnership with Southwest Youth and Family Services, Seattle Police, and Seattle Public Utilities.
P.S. Youngstown’s planning a big public open house three weeks from today, Saturday, September 21st, 1-9 pm (including performances during those final three hours) – and would love to show you what’s happening inside the historic school’s walls at 4408 Delridge Way SW.