While YouthREX and our team continue to work on the evaluation of the project, we thought we’d give a brief description of what we felt came out of this important project. The impact that these pieces of art have on the community can almost be felt through the pictures!
The goals were not so much to change the image of a specific neighbourhood, but to increase the sense of belonging towards the public garden space by embedding youth voices into the landscape. In doing so, the project addressed the concerns of youth in a non-paternalizing fashion. Many of the murals reflected long-held concerns voiced by youth but not seriously taken into consideration:
By hanging up the murals, youth felt that their stories were validated, and included as a part of the characterization of the community. Although the report is incomplete, we are sure it increased levels of confidence in youth participants and engaged residents. Overall, we believe the main objectives of promoting ownership of one’s neighbourhood and increasing self-esteem of newcomers was achieved.