the kids of the Frederick Douglass Center

One of the highlights of painting at the Frederick Douglass R-Center was the tangible excitement of its children as they watched their walls come alive. The youth at the R-Centers are in many ways the reason why we do what we do. Seeing the way the little ones looked up to our teenage artists made our hearts melt and was a great reminder of the importance of setting a strong example and modeling this kind of positivity.

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The most frequently asked question by the little ones, everywhere we go… “CAN I PAINT?!” While its not realistic to let our little friends help with the murals on the walls, we like to let them express their creativity and be involved in the process. For the South Ave murals, we gave the kids cut out cameras to correspond with the ones we painted on the walls and asked them to draw or paint something that is important to them in the lens. These now hang alongside our murals in the Rec Center’s halls.

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And occasionally, with some instruction and supervision, our youth coordinator Lisa allowed them to use her camera (very carefully) to document the process from their own perspective.

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We are so happy to be able to leave this mural there as a tool for inspiration and education for children young and old, and were beyond honored to receive this feedback from one of the teachers at School 12, which shares space with the Rec Center: “When I walked my 21 Kinders to PE on Monday, we all (myself included) just gasped. It was such a magical moment to be embraced by such beauty. After PE we spent about 15 minutes (a long time for 5 year olds) looking in awe at the details. Later in the week, when we walked by, someone yelled “Both sides have something to write with!” I predict that every time we walk by they will observe a new detail. I know this was created for the Rec Center, but I feel incredibly fortunate that my students can experience this piece every day. Thank you, so much!”

This perfectly encapsulates why we do what we do! 🙂 We are grateful to have the opportunity to provide them with a source of beauty and look forward to creating many more inspiring scenes for Rochester’s kids over the years.

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