A new mural will be unveiled Sunday on Bloomington's west side that will tell stories of the young artists who created it.
Downtown Bloomington has long been a destination for art and artists. The 2019 Youth Mural Project is just a few blocks west, at the intersection of Market Street and Morris Avenue.
The City of Bloomington, West Bloomington Revitalization Project, Illinois Art Station and Artolution joined forces to give local youth a voice while allowing them to leave their mark on the community. This year's theme brings to life a “dichotomy of light and dark” that reflects community stories.
Illinois Art Station Director Isra El-beshir explained how beneficial art can be as an outlet for expression.
“Specifically with youth, often times their stories aren't heard. The stories that we hear are constructed for them. And so this (mural project) gives them an opportunity to, in many ways, take back the narrative and construct their own story and tell their story. And so when they see that there's a platform for them to express themselves, it empowers them. It becomes a transformative experience as they are becoming change agents for the community.”
Aside from giving the youth a worthwhile experience, El-beshir emphasized on what this art project can mean to the community.
“Murals uplift people. They become a pillar, a staple in the community, that thousands and thousands of people, whether they're in the neighborhood or passing by, can really enjoy," she said.
Last year’s inaugural Youth Mural Project was located inside the Constitution Trail tunnel under Washington Street in Bloomington. It revitalized an important space in the Bloomington-Normal community, and this year is no different.
This year’s mural has 20 young artists contributing to the piece, and El-beshir said participation, news coverage, and outreach is gaining in size each year.
"I’m sort of on a mural high!" she said. "And many folks from adults to children have approached us asking, ‘Can we have more projects like this? We don't have enough murals.’”
Curious to see what this year’s mural looks like? Find out this Sunday at noon. There will also be a live performance by Breaking Chains & Advancing Increase School of Arts.
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