The proposed mural (left) will feature a self portrait of a teen in each circle. At the moment the circles are filled with placeholder images. It will be installed on an existing sign post at Hillside Shopping Centre (right). (City of Surrey)

New mural in Clayton Heights ‘empowers’ youth to dream for a bright future

Clayton Heights, Salish Secondary students will create a mosaic of self-portraits

Under the leadership of a professional artist, a group of Cloverdale high school students is working to create a mural in Clayton Heights that empowers self-expression and encourages youth to dream for a bright future.

The initiative is the result of an arts residency, ran in partnership with the City of Surrey’s youth and community art program, that brought Surrey-based artists to Salish and Clayton Heights Secondary schools in a series of after-school workshops.

Youth worked with four residents during the course of the program. They had the opportunity to work with clay with Bev Ellis, paint with Jennifer Clark, weave with Roxanne Charles and learn the art of paper folding with Karen Cancino.

The students then voted on a mural design that they wished to work on for their final project. Jennifer Clark’s Self: Present, Future mural was selected.

The mural will be a mosaic of abstract self-portraits. Each student will paint two works: one to represent their present, and a second to represent their future.

The portraits will be collected, scanned and reproduced on a vinyl banner that will then be installed on an existing commercial sign at Hillcrest Village Shopping Centre in Clayton Heights.

The mural, and its $2,650 budget, was approved in a May 27 council meeting. The funds will be provided through the culture operating budget.

According to the city report, the youth involved in the program said the mural design “empowers them to express themselves, dream for a bright future, and spread hope to their community.”

“By juxtaposing images of their present and future selves, youth feel emboldened to envision where they want to go in life. It gives youth a growth perspective—they are not limited by who they are now, but rather they can grow into the person they want to become,” reads the report.

“This project is intended to inspire hope and to recognize different paths people follow as they transition through life.”

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