By Josh Petray
Following late 2010 when a collaboration was birthed between Studios on the Park Artist Henry A.J. Ramos, Paso Robles High School Art Teacher Mary Legleiter, and the Paso Robles Police Activities League to support a youth-driven art project that would foster a theme of community, safety, and peace - the fruits of youth artists' labor is now on public display, and city officials said they are pleased with the project.
Mayor Duane Picanco was among city dignitaries to step forward to honor a mural project that was recently installed in the lobby of the Paso Robles Library/City Hall building and crafted by local artists working in coordination with Paso Robles-based Studios on the Park. The work was created by 20 local teens and young adults who gathered weekly and who represented diverse array of cultures and backgrounds to reflect "their individual expression and their collective understanding of the value of security and social harmony," reads a certificate of recognition.
"If it keeps kids and young adults out of problems with the law I think it's great," Picanco said, adding that he was impressed not only by the stories he heard from students who shared their stories of being deterred from tagging on the streets but also by the subject matter of the mural itself.
It was a sentiment echoed by one of the project's leaders, SLO County-based artist Henry Ramos, who remarked in a past Paso Robles Press article that, the program is targeted at "teen and early adult individuals in the community who are looking for an outlet."
City Councilman John Hamon said that he was pleased that the project provided ownership to the students, who were able to display their work in a public place.
"It's important that the kids have something viable to the public and in a public place," Hamon said. "I thought that it was good for the to get that exposure. Getting the youth involved, getting the class to get everybody collaborating together on something that they're taking ownership of, that's the biggest thing."
The project will remain on display in the foyer through 2011.
Participating artists were: Dylan Brice, Kevin Bruce, Hope Button, Meagan Chambers, Salvador Chavez, Pablo Estrada, Alandra Hernandez, Edgar Jimenez, Jorge Lopez, Mason Lopez (project co-leader), Amanda Mills (project co-leader), Abisal Ortiz, Kit Toevs, Katrina Valenzuela, Ally Weinstein, and Saul Zepeda.
For more information, visit www.studiosonthepark.org.