By Cristian Roldán, Local Artist

As part of the Summer Program Barrio Arts & Culture Youth Program (BACY), the mural artist Cristian Roldan developed a mural with seven young students. The new mural is located at 1201 N Campbell Ave.

On August 16, the mural was finally finished. In his instragram account, Cristian Roldán thanked all the people who donated via GoFundMe

“It was a great learning experience working with youth and encouraging them to have a voice choosing the elements painted in the mural. Its a great feeling to be able to found a public art-based project and help local youth to develop their artistic skills as well their social imagination. Thanks for everyone who donated to BACY ‘s GoFundMe and helped me to hire youth as artists and designers of public art! This piece is about #gentrification and is a collective design” @roldan.aponte

Barrio Arts & Culture Youth (BACY) program is a summer initiative founded to provide education through public art

practice and social issues to local youth in the neighborhood. The program provided 7 positions for high school students and local youth to create public art addressing a topic concerning the locals. Through dialogue and art lessons BACY seek to respond how public art delivers a messages encoding

meanings about relevant social issues in the Paseo Boricua neighborhood. By facilitating the tools, dialogue and wall, the youth was lead to engage in thinking critically about public space, exposure, relevance and social issues.In the program’s curriculum, four local artists and community leaders were invited to share their knowledge and views about art and social engagement as well about the historical context of east Humboldt Park. Dialogue with local artists and community leaders was relevant to build awareness of the community concerns. BACY’s intention was to bring public art to the community that brings a powerful message through the aesthetics. Youth had an active role in deciding the message delivered and in selecting images that they considered relevant to the local culture and to the issues.BACY provided a stipend for students to work without stressing about their financial needs and encouraging them to stay in the project through the whole process. The pedagogical goal was reach through the process while the evidence was the final product.

Our goal was to challenge the youth to think critically and to raise awareness about the local struggles to those who are very young to understand that what seems to be the norm can be a social construct and that art does not only serves to deliver messages, but the process itself is a learning experience.

The program produced a mural based on dialogue and reflection about local concerns.

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