SRPMIC Youth Services Unveils Murals at the Justice Center Complex

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Irene Ramos, Arielle and Calliope Manuel from Hummingbird Group which is made up of 5th and 6th grade girls.

The desire to paint a wall with an important message as a form of artistic expression has been around since the beginning of time. Famed artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Banksy, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh are only a few who have tried their hand at painting murals.

On April 25, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Youth Services Program unveiled their massive seven-mural project in collaboration with the SRPMIC Justice Center Complex. All seven murals were designed and painted by artists in the Youth Services Program and the Color the Rez Graffiti Immersion Group.

Friends, family members and loved ones of the muralists visited the Justice Center Complex for the presentation of the finished murals. The space was transformed into an art gallery, and people could walk up and take a closer look at the artistic achievements.

“Mentees from the fourth to 12th grade worked on designing and spray-painting the murals from October 2023 through their spring break last month (March 2024),” said John-Paul Saspe, Youth Services Program manager.

All of the muralists were given expert advice on how to design, plan and paint their murals, assisted by SRPMIC Youth Development Specialist Natasha Martinez.

The murals highlight the beauty that can be found in the Community and represent various periods from the beginning of time to the present day. The first mural, titled “The Beginning,” was created by the Youth Services Teen Group. It showcases our solar system and the dawn of time in outer space. After that, the story highlights the pre-contact period in Salt River, Red Mountain, Humming Bird and Saguaros playing together in harmony, a game of songivil, women gathering water at the river, and SRPMIC kids growing up in modern-day Salt River.

Youth Services also arranged for the Harkins Theatres Popcorn Truck to hand out free bags of popcorn to the guests.

The new murals in the SRPMIC Justice Center Complex tell the heartfelt and passionate stories of the artists who created them. They are proof that Community youth remain passionate and as driven as ever to succeed in the art world, just like all of the legends who came before them.

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