True Colors Murals Most Recent Project: Y Teen Center (Spring 2011)

This class creates environmentally conscious murals for the community. If you paint, community organize, write, do graff, photography, web design or blogging, this could be the class and project for you!The True Colors Mural Project supports the development of young artist activists for the improvement of the urban environment through the creation of public murals. The purpose of the murals is to both educate urban dwellers and beautify the urban environment with messages and images that support ecological sustainability, conservation and restoration. The project recruits, engages and employs under-served, at risk youth from Berkeley and the greater East Bay, in vital community environmental mural arts projects. True Colors trains young artists to design and create community murals with social and environmental justice themes.
The unique contributions of this project are:
high quality, enduring, and meaningful community murals that raise issues and consciousness regarding the environment
• improvement of the urban landscape
• educational preparation on these themes for a new generation of high school and college-age activist artists who will receive high school and college level academic units in the arts
income for environmental artist/activists from Berkeley’s Youth Works Program.

Student Muralist, Jane Oriel, Sketching Charcoal Cartoon on Wall at Y Teen Center

Most Recent Project

True Colors has created six public murals in Berkeley to date, with our sixth project recently finished for the new YMCA Teen Center, located at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. and Center Streets. The center, which is receiving financial support from PG&E, was designed with the help of a task force of teenagers. The True Colors team of muralists has worked closely with the teen leadership group, AMP, to create a design for the three-story, illuminated interior stairway that faces Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

The Teen Center aims to provide the city’s 2,500 teens with help in the areas of academic achievement, employment, leadership development, environmental training and career planning. PG&E donated the 8,000 sq. ft former service center that, once renovated, will become the LEED-certified center.

Students Ariel Malone, Pheobe Sanders, and Tovoni Polk painting on the first floor.

The process shown here pictures classworking hard, and the progress of the mural. A grid was put up to transfer the drawing to the wall. Charcoal was used to draw the basic outlines and designs. These designs were then painted over with varnish to set the drawing. Because of this process, the designs transferred needed to be basic contour line drawings, because shading and texture work is completed with paint. This is why both the black and white and the color drawings are especially important — they act as a reference for the artists throughout the entire process. The class has now started painting the mural. Large chunks of color were filled in on Tuesday, March 22. On Thursday, the 24, students and participants began painting more detailed areas, beginning to shade and focus on smaller elements.

YouthWorks intern Julie Ngai varnishing the charcoal drawing
Blocked color on second floor

Collective Consciousness mural, looking up from second to third floor, Y Teen Center, ©2011, Berkeley City College and Earth Island Institute. Photo by Dana Davis

True Colors Mural Crew at Y Teen Center, second floor view of Collective Consciousness, ©2011, Berkeley City College and Earth Island Institute. Photo by Dana Davis