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Tween taggers and a mural unveiling

 

With a lively blue and purple background, graffiti art showing a phoenix will soon brighten up a Hintonburg neighbourhood corner.

The mural – which will go up on the side of Charlie’s Groceteria on the corner of Carruthers Avenue and Ladouceur Street on August 8 during a celebration from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. – came together on July 11 and 12 beside the Hintonburg Community Centre.

“I thought this was like a bright canvass, with two storeys of red brick,” says Alisa Viner, a Hintonburg resident who came up with the idea. “It’s a really powerful symbol…of community revitalization.”

The community mural project is a joint partnership between the Hintonburg Community Association’s Arts Committee, Somerset West Community Health Centre and Ottawa Urban Arts – a group of professional urban and graffiti artists.

It is funded by Crime Prevention Ottawa’s Paint It Up program – which aims to prevent graffiti and increase beauty and safety in Ottawa neighbourhoods.

All projects submitted to the program must have one young person included in the mural process and be guided by an artist or arts organization that has expertise in creating murals.

Cassandra Dickie, a professional graffiti artist with Ottawa Urban Arts, has been involved in mural projects across the city – including the one featured at the Odawa Native Friendship Centre building.

She says the group has worked with Crime Prevention Ottawa in the past and that the project is a great opportunity for the Hintonburg community.

“We try to reach the community and ultimately improve the aesthetic of the area,” she says.

Viner adds that the mural will help prevent graffiti, which was an issue.

“It’s a spot that’s continually being tagged and the goal was to engage kids to take responsibility for their space – and have them see something that is worth taking care of,” she says.

Eleven year-old Mackenzie Albert lives in Hintonburg, and was one of the artists involved in painting the mural. “I like art. I like singing, dancing and painting. I decided that this sounded like fun. And I just like all the details and colours,” Albert explains.

Kaitlyn Coogan, who’s also 11 years-old and from Hintonburg, says she’s thrilled to be part of a project that the whole community will see.

“I feel proud of myself,” she says. “I like painting, because you can do whatever you want.”

Kody Ferreira, 13, is involved in programs at the Hintonburg Community Centre and also lives in the neighbourhood.

He says he enjoyed taking part in his first-ever mural project.
“I would do this again for sure,” he says.

Hintonburg resident Paulette Dozois, who is a member of the community association’s Arts Committee, says the project made sense for the area – especially since the neighbourhood has been declared an arts district.

Dozois adds that tagging and graffiti is an issue throughout the city and community mural projects are helping combat vandalism.

“This is showing kids what acceptable art is,” Dozois says. “And we’re doing it together as a team.”