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The Voice of the Black Community

Life and Religion

Mural provides inspiration
Painting strengthens bonds for teens, community
Published Wednesday, February 23, 2011 3:02 pm
by Ryanne Persinger

Hard work really does pay off.

The youth involved in the graphic arts program at City Dive Arts Academy saw their efforts when the mural they created was unveiled Monday at Southview Recreation Center.

Demario Martin and Marquita Moss are two of the youths who created a mural at Southview Recreation Center.

“Everyone had a great work ethic towards the project,” said DeVaughn Johnson of the NuCarolinas Community Mural Program. “It was difficult at first for them to think outside of the box but they did it.”

It took eight weeks to paint the mural in the teen activity room. The top reads, “Believe to achieve.... achieve to succeed.”
Every Monday evening the 10 youngsters met to paint, staying sometimes until 8 p.m., says Hazel Richardson, the community and recreation center services manager at Southview.

“The faces that you see in the mural are the actual teens,” Richardson said. “They wanted to bring the programs at the center through in the painting; the basketball, computer lab, African dancing, ribbon dance and African drumming.”

Of all the mural participants, Demario Martin was the only male. His face is at the top right corner with a basketball.

“I colored it,” Demario, 15, said. “I came two to three hours every Monday.”

Johnson said Demario was eager to help from the beginning.

“I want to attribute that to the positive role models,” Johnson said. “He was never reluctant or coerced and he did everything without any hesitation. He got to experience something different and it nurtured a lot of growth in him.”

Jazzmyn Moss is another artist of the mural.

“It is so pretty,” she said. “I just want to say thanks to everyone for helping paint this mural.”

City Dive Arts Academy is a non-profit organization that aims to empower West Boulevard corridor residents to transform their lives and community. This is the fourth year City Dive has partnered with Southview to offer courses. The mural was made through a partnership with NuCarolinas, which seeks to connect neighborhoods with long-lasting depictions of history and the present with bright colors and imagery to symbolize a hopeful future.

Curtis King, also of NuCarolinas, said he and Johnson wanted the youth to represent their community.

“We had a lot of fun with the kids,” he said. “It was good to build them up for them to have something positive, along with being able to provide them with good positive black role models, even if it was for a few hours a day.”

Cedric Cook, site director for the Boys and Girls Club at Southview, said the teens now have a place they could call home.
Other teens who created the mural include: Zhaneisha Smith, Nyree Mitchell, Jakhara Mitchell, Alexis Johnson, Quamarai McBryde, Nijea Talley, Marquita Moss and Shyaisha Mitchell.

“We consider it an incredible blessing to have partners like the Southview Recreation Center and NuCarolinas Community Mural Program who share our mission and will unite with us to positively engage, love and influence young people while helping them discover and activate their talents,” said Bishop Terrell L. Murphy, founder of City Dive and pastor of New-Birth Charlotte.

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