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Apr 27, 2017

Murals – Communities Brought Together Through Art

Art is being used as a means to bring communities together. In the south side of Belize City, the Department of Youth Services has turned bare walls into colorful pieces to promote peace in the community. Three generations of men and women came together to create murals that are not only pleasing to the eye, but evoke civic pride. News Five’s Duane Moody has a report.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

As you take a walk through the Mayflowers Street area and Regent Street, just past the House of Culture, in Belize City, your eyes would be drawn to an explosion of color – not to be confused with graffiti, but actual art plastered on a wall along the routes.  It is the brainchild of the Department of Youth Services in collaboration with the Primary School Art Skills Training Program of the Ministry of Education.

 

Sabreena Daly

Sabreena Daly, PR Officer, Department of Youth Services

“It originally started here; I am in front of the first one that was made. It actually started last summer. We basically gathered young people from like one in the afternoon on to like five o’clock. And they just came—if they saw it and liked it—they participated; we didn’t really lined up young people, they just came on their own. Yutagh; he works in the Toledo district and he is also skilled in art as well and they worked together. Yutagh designed the whole mural here and then young people just came and they started to paint. Miss Fiona, she worked with partnering the young people and bringing then and putting them together and also the photography part of it.”

 

Coordinator of the PSAST Program, Fiona Huang, took the idea to the Mayflower Street area, where the community designed the wall painting. The uniqueness, this time around, is that the residents themselves got involved; many depicted stories of adversities and the willingness to find peace in the community. The artistic expression, according to Huang, has evoked civic pride among residents.

 

Fiona Huang

Fiona Huang, Coordinator, PSAST

“This their community so let them do it. So they did their own design that means something for their family, for their children or some family member passed away; the story from the designs are very amazing. We opened to the men who were trained in the drop-in centers. But we figure out that the number was too small—like twelve and not everybody comes. So we got women—so we can change our menu from rice and beans to fry rice—so we get the women. No matter the grandma, the mommy, the daughter, the children. So it is very meaningful because it was done by three generations of women and men.”

 

According to Sabreena Daly, the murals may very well trigger an initiative to take the project into other communities across Belize City.

 

Sabreena Daly

“What we are hoping to do is kinda make it a little competition with the communities since now we see that they are actually willing to create their own design, maybe we could see which one brought the most community members together and which is the coolest design.”

 

Duane Moody

“So it is not only targeting the youth, but the community in general?”

 

Sabreena Daly

“It’s the community in general. So it is really cool; I think it is a really cool start, especially from Miss McKenzie…the love of Miss McKenzie’s idea and we should see where it will go from here.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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