The Vic West Community Centre has a lot to celebrate after it wrapped up one of its first youth projects in years.
As part of the New Youth project, Tré Thompson, Farah Diaz Graham, Naz Cemre Kalayci, Adam Milne, Eduardo Villasenor, Julissa Anthea Hernandez Ordez, and Serene Krause spent the last 32 weeks creating a mural that reflects the community.
The group worked together to gather ideas from residents about how best to create a project that would reflect the Vic West community. Ideas ranged from a skatepark, community garden, photo exhibit and marathon, before they eventually settled on a mural.
“It’s kind of the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a community project, said 16-year-old Milne.
The mural, which now hangs at the back of the recreation centre, consists of three categories: spiritual, environmental and social.
Local artists Lori Garcia-Meredith and Matty Hillman were brought on board to help create it.
“The spiritual one has the heart at the centre of it and it’s an anatomically correct heart and it connects all aspects of the community,” Garcia-Meredith said. “One is about environment, it’s the earth as an individual lying on his or her back blowing out life. The third one was social — it’s an image of a younger person passing fruit to a more elderly individual.”
Project facilitator Corie Potter-Lowden said the project brought together youth who “wouldn’t typically hang out.”
“For Vic West especially, there’s so much potential in our community and I don’t think we’re fully utilizing it,” she said. “There aren’t a lot of services for this age group. We want people to use the community centre as a common ground, as a safe place, quiet place, as a community centre.”
“I got to see other people, not just a screen,” said the 18-year-old.
The pilot project was funded through a $16,000 grant from the Harbour Side Rotary, along with donations of painting supplies and the City of Victoria helped mount the murals.
For the youth involved, the mural is about giving back to the community in which they live.
“I can take away the pride of something in the community that was made by me and others,” Milne said.
“I learned that it’s a lot of fun to help out in the community,” added 15-year-old Krause.