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The street art of hand-painted murals is becoming more popular in Southeast; here's a new one

RITA A. LEONARD - The new Youth Progress mural at S.E. 20th and Powell Boulevard was handmade in historic Mexican dot-paint style. A large Brooklyn neighborhood mural, completed in January, was dedicated at a public ceremony on Thursday, February 7. Artist Rodolfo Redstone Serna created the 76-foot-wide, 26-foot-tall mural that overlooks the Youth Progress Association parking lot. "I'm calling it the 'Youth Progress Mural'," Serna tells THE BEE, "although when I look at it, the words 'her heartbeat goes on' come to mind!

"I was assisted by Rudy Rolon, the Brooklyn neighborhood Association, and volunteer painters from Youth Progress," he goes on. "The project was funded by donations from local businesses, along with volunteer help from Youth Progress students and staff. Due to funding problems, the project stretched over nearly two years, but the actual painting time took only two months."

The mural is rendered in historical Mexican dot-paint style. It features Brooklyn landmarks, such as the Ross Island Bridge, Sacred Heart Church, a Brooklyn Rail Yard engine, the historic Poulson House, and people playing at Brooklyn Park. In addition, there are also Oregon symbols like Mt. Hood, lumberjacks, wilderness areas, fishermen at Celilo Falls, and a bald eagle hunting salmon. "The themes of growth and metamorphosis come mostly from input I received from the Youth Progress participants," says Serna.

Nick Gallo, Executive Director of the Youth Progress Association, agrees. "We really wanted a chance for our young people to see this project through, and have something in the neighborhood to celebrate that young people in the juvenile justice and foster care systems are also artists, athletes, leaders, scholars, and entrepreneurs. We appreciate their willingness to persist, and help complete the project."

Speakers at the ceremony included Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pedersen, Nick Gallo, Benjamin Ome from a local Aztec Dance Group, Michael Navarro, and the artist.

In addition, information was offered to attendees about becoming a foster parent, and other ways to be involved with Youth Progress. A cultural blessing ceremony and a costumed dance was presented by Mexica Tiahui, a local Aztec Dance Group.

Ome remarked, "We feel that a person who paints is recording our history. Murals have brought our people together for thousands of years."


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