End of the Year Celebration + Roc Paint Division on WXXI

SAVE THE DATE! Our end of the year closing celebration and art showcase is coming up in just 2 weeks, and we want you to join us! This team has been working really hard for the last few months and we can’t believe we’re already wrapping up- but we’re so excited to share our vision and creations with our community.


We’ll be celebrating our team’s accomplishments and showcasing the art we’ve been creating. Plus we’ll have refreshments, music, some interactive art activities, and more-Don’t miss out! The main event is Friday June 10th, 5-8 pm. We will also have open hours the next day from 10-2pm (We’re just down the street from the Public Market- so you can make a Saturday morning out of it! 🙂

And ALSO: Last week our team headed down to the WXXI station for our first radio interview(!!) Sarah, Justin, Maribel, and our supervisor Kendra had the exciting opportunity to share the Roc Paint  Division experience on Connections with Evan Dawson. The feature aired last Monday, and you can listen to it here — we are so proud of this team for representing us so well!

Thats all for now- check back here on Tuesday for an update on our murals at Campbell Street and a feature on our guest lead artists!


On location: Painting at the R-Centers!

Last week was a huge week for the Roc Paint Division team! We hit the ground running at both the Campbell Street and Sinkler R-Centers on not one or even two, but three new murals. It feels great to be working in the centers – we’ve been holed up working away in our Marketview Lodge headquarters since the program started, and getting to share our skills and visions right in the community is a refreshing change. Two of the three projects are outside, and we are extremely grateful that the weather has been not only cooperative, but beautiful each day that we’ve worked outside!


Our team is joined by two amazing guest lead artists- Rachel Farley at the Sinkler R-Center, and fellow Wall/Therapy alum Brittany Williams at Campbell Street. Later this week we will do a feature on these two fantastic ladies, but for now, we wanted to share some progress shots with you- we are so thrilled at how well and how quickly things are moving along!

Check out the progress from the beginning of the day Wednesday…. campbellstweek1-4Campbell Street- inside, in the game room 

campbellstweek1-2Campbell Street- outside at the entrance 

campbellstweek1-37Sinkler- electrical box in the garden 

To the end of the day Thursday:

campbellstweek1-35Campbell Street inside campbellstweek1-33Campbell Street outside 


One of the biggest differences in working at the R-Centers is the active, enthusiastic audience- the kids that attend the Centers, Campbell in particular,  have been very excited and inquisitive about the project. Its been important to us from the very beginning for them to feel involved in the process- after all, its their rec center, not ours! Before we started painting, we came in to meet the kids, and did an activity to get their input on what might to see on their walls.  (We’ll be talking more about that on here soon, too!)  In the meantime, we’ve also planned art activities for the kids when we are there painting so that they can part of the excitement and creative process too. Currently, they are working on creating as many paper butterflies as they can, which will be hung up to go along with the finished mural later this week.

campbellstweek1-10Justin shares more about the process with some of the most enthusiastic girls at Campbell.campbellstweek1-21

Dezmir is a natural, and a huge hit with the kids, at leading the arts and crafts station. campbellstweek1-20

Getting to help document the mural’s progress has been a favorite perk for many of the center kids. 

campbellstweek1-17The kids are- not surprisingly-  especially interested in the spray paint. 





We’ll be back by the end of the week with more updates – everything is happening so quickly that we might even be done by then! – but for now, we’ll leave you with some more progress shots. We’re so proud of each and every member of this team for all their hard work and how quickly they’ve blossomed into mural artists who are looked up to by the kids and community around them.



Bringing it to life.


We are quickly wrapping up our first major mural project, and next week we’ll take steps towards starting three different new ones! Before we get there, though, we wanted to reflect a bit more on the process behind the first one.

As we began moving from the sketch into the actual mural design, we wanted to make sure we used reference photos that would make it easier for us to begin the rather daunting process of painting on a larger scale- something that was very new for many of the members of the group. Several of the Roc Paint Division-ers have enjoyed getting to take photographs of the process just as much as the painting, and we wanted them to have the chance to take the reference photos themselves and make them exactly what they wanted. Being in charge of the photo shoot– and continuing on to play pivotal roles in painting elements of the mural using their own photos- has  proved to be a powerful part of the project for Dezmir and Maribel.

The theme for our mural is growth, and the scenes in the mural depict young people in various stages of development. We elected to do the photo shoot at the Boys and Girls Club, where Dezmir, who’s grown up going there, knows just about everyone.   His close friendships made it easier for him to find kids who were the ages we were looking for, as well as a special opportunity for him.  “Dez did a great job finding the kids- I feel like they were just the right people for us,” Maribel said. The two worked together, along with staff photographer Lisa, to help the models into the poses the team had chosen for the process. “Making the people comfortable was easier with the younger kids,” Maribel added. The two presented the photos and relayed the overall experience with the team back at our headquarters, and narrowed it down to the shots that worked the best for the mural. Fast forward a few weeks, and those models are this close to seeing their likeness brought to life on the walls.

Check out Dezmir’s account of the photo shoot below.


Hey folks, this is Dezmir, back at it again with the blog for Roc Paint Division. On April 7th, 2016 we took a photo shoot for our Mural going inside of the Flint Street R-Center. In my opinion, it was a phenomenal experience because it was at a place that I grew up, The Boys & Girls Club, and our models were very willing to help us and pose for us. One of our models was my favorite club kid in the world and her name is Saniya, and she is a dancer at the club and when it was time to model for us it seemed so natural because she was so used to posing. My partner, Maribel, was great because she could interact with the younger models better because she was more gentle. It was amazing because all the different age groups of the models at first were nervous, and as time progressed they began to become more comfortable. As a photographer that was an advantage and I feel like we got some great shots that will be coming soon to all.




Both Dezmir and Maribel have taken lead roles on the parts of the mural that they helped to photograph- bringing it to life from start to finish. Dezmir has mentioned several times how special it is to get to paint someone that he knows and cares for so much. 




Our videographer Alex films Dezmir sharing the photos with the rest of the team. 



Roc Paint Divison gets a logo!


So, way back at the beginning of the program, we started thinking about what we would want the Roc Paint Division logo to look like. Being a group of artists, it was important to have something awesome and eye catching that matched how we felt about the program and the kind of work we planned to do, and that reflected the group as a whole but also the contributions of each team member- a tall order to fill! Each team member brainstormed their own ideas individually, and then our fabulous graphic designer friend Kari Petsche worked with the whole crew to synthesize the ideas into one cohesive design- as well as share a little bit about how the world of graphic design works. We are super excited about the final design that she shared with us and are looking forward to rocking T-shirts with this design pretty soon.


Below: Kasim & Dezmir weigh in on the process of how the logo came to be:

The logo design process was truly a team effort. We were first introduced to the idea that we would start brainstorming the idea of a logo for Roc Paint Division in our first weeks of work together, and who wouldn’t want to come up with an idea for the logo for your job? I thought it was really cool.

On the other hand, I’ve actually been given the opportunity to help out with a logo design before, and although I love drawing, there’s always been something about logo or t-shirt design that I’ve found to be pretty overwhelming. But, this really wasn’t very overwhelming and I think it helped that it was broken into such a step-by-step process.

The idea was brought forth several times, and in one of our early work sessions we took the time to sit down and sketch out designs. And shortly after, Kari, a graphic designer came in to talk to us about some of the designs she’s done before and how she would help walk us through designing our own logos. It was really neat to talk to someone who’s done such a wide variety of designs, from Festival Directories to logo designs. She even does the program design for my summer camp.

I especially liked when she looked at our different sketched out ideas for a logo and found the strongest parts and similarities in our drawings and talked to us about how we could try to incorporate something from everyone’s ideas. Our original sketches shared several concepts- paint cans, spray paint, or the city’s logo. So, it wasn’t super hard to think of combining our ideas.

– Kasim, Youth Leader

logodesign -1

logodesign -7logodesign -5


Hey guys, Its Dez back at it again with the blog for Roc Paint Division, and today our topic is the Logo Design for our program, and this was an exciting experience because it was nice to see the different styles and perspective of my co-workers. We all had very different but similar ideas and Kari, our professional, created a great combination of all ideas. From my point of view, she noticed that we all had a graffiti style for this certain project and had drawings of spray cans and paint splatter, and I think this created a great mesh and basically the design. Though I think we should add different colors to the design, I still think the design, as a whole was a success.

– Dezmir, youth artist

Check out the original sketches- see if you can find the elements from each that made it into the final design.

Gabriel Caballero: logoideasyouth-5

Maribel Hernandez: logoideasyouth-4

Dezmir Phelps logoideasyouth-3

La’ja Gause: logoideasyouth-2

Kasim Wallace:


logodesign -6



Mural One: Progress shots

For the last month or so we have been working away at the various components of the first official Roc Paint Division mural, and this week its all finally coming to a close. It has been a long process; from brainstorming and sketching, to weeks upon weeks of stencil cutting, to the big payoff when they were finally ready to use and we got to break  open the cans of spray paint. During the last few weeks we’ve moved from spray painting into brush painting, and each member of the team has contributed to a different element of the whole piece- The mural is composed of cut out painted wood panels that will be installed at the Flint Street R-Center. Now for the suspense: you’ll have to wait til next week to see and hear more about the finished product, but for now, check out some progress shots going all the way back to the beginning.



The whole team with their finished flowers, post weeks and weeks of stencil cutting! ( Wondering about that awesome logo in the middle? Stay tuned for more on that! )