The Centretown Community Health Centre recently revealed a new mural in the Village at Cooper and Bank streets.
It was painted by 20 youth, including several queer youth, to symbolize respect and to bring together different cultures and communities.
“The idea of the mural came from the youth themselves,” says Natasha Beaudin, Centretown Community Health Centre health promoter and the project’s coordinator. “They wanted to use symbols that represented different cultures to represent the diversity of Centretown. Their theme was “Respect the Art,” and that means literally to respect the art of people from other traditions. But also to respect the style of graffiti art, and as youth, they felt that they don’t always get the respect of the wider society.”
Beaudin says several queer youth use the centre.
“For queer and other marginalized youth, they were pleased to find that Centretown Community Health Centre provides a space that is welcoming and non-judgmental. They were happy to feel like they belonged to an important project that is beautifying the walls of our city.
“I think this mural has a very strong welcoming message to all people who live in Ottawa. The gay community in Ottawa is also multicultural and diverse, and they are often very artsy so would enjoy and appreciate this mural.”
The project was funded by Crime Prevention Ottawa’s Paint It Up program. Nancy Worsfold, executive director of Crime Prevention, says, “I hope it brings together all cultures and communities. The projects are intended to have a community development and youth engagement focus.”
This project is one of many in the program that aims to help Ottawa youth.
“This program targets youth who may be marginalized and teaches them art and other skills,” says Beaudin. “Once they get a taste of creating their own artwork, there is a lot of pride in the finished work and the process.”