Thursday, April 30, 2015

SED in Ithaca NY: "We still have time"

The Ithaca Junior Youth Group was formed in November 2010, and since then the participants have been involved in different service project in the community: 

o   They’ve performed step dances in several local Festivals (like the Food Justice Summit, the Boricua Festival or Juneteenth) to raise awareness about the power of youth to make changes and the potency of united work.

o   They’ve raised money for several causes - some of them sponsored by local organizations (like the SPCA of Tompkins County or Green Star Community Projects), and some of them international (like Hope is Life Foundation and one of their schools in Haiti, or Mujeres Solares in Costa Rica).

o   They’ve supported local efforts to ban the use of plastic bags in Ithaca by organizing video forums in their neighborhood and their own middle school classrooms, collecting signatures, and participating in public meetings to support this cause.

In 2012 it started in Ithaca a project organized by the Public Art Commission (PAT) called "21 Boxes", which according to that commission: "[the] Artwork displayed on electrical boxes functions as a form of communication to a moving audience with the goal of creating a safe, inclusive and inspired urban environment. Successful proposals will foster community good will and become a beacon of neighborhood pride." That project has been happening every year since then.

The participants of the group, all of them very artistic oriented, felt in love with the idea of painting one box, using it as a way to share a positive message with the people of Ithaca. By the end of 2013 they submitted a proposal which was approved, and they painted during May and June of 2014. The process of thinking of what to paint it was itself a great experience of consultation and reflection. This is how they described their mural:

"With our mural, called 'We still have time', the Junior Youth Group illustrates our desire for a happy future where people live in harmony with each other and nature, thus we created an image of a bright future. The buildings are powered by alternative energy. People get around the cities on foot, bike, and mass transit. Unity is depicted by little people holding hands and kids feeling safe to play outdoors.

All of this is painted along the bottom of the painting/drawing in black silhouette, without color. The sky is a gorgeous collaboration of stars and beautiful colors, the style similar to starry night. A small fun detail that will appeal to youth is a TARDIS time machine from “Doctor Who” flying through the sky, which plays on the idea of time and the future."

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