There's a new mural in Multnomah Village and it's got a message
If organizers of an artistic effort in Multnomah Village to inspire young people have their way, the mural with a message painted on the side of Thinker Toys on Saturday, Nov. 2, won't be the last one seen around town.
It's a product of the You Are Loved Mural Project and there are now 66 murals in a dozen states like the one painted by volunteers that Saturday. Alex Cook, artist, creator, designer and volunteer work crew chief, came up with the idea.
He said afterwards "About 100 people from ages 3 to 70 put their hand into painting it that day.
"It was a very special day. I do community participation in many of the murals I do but that particular day was really a stand-out to me. You could really feel the enthusiasm of the Multnomah Village community," he said by phone from his home in Massachusetts after the mural was completed.
An effort to pay for the mural has been launched on Go Fund Me. As of Thursday, Nov. 14, $2,450 of the $4,560 needed to finance the mural has been raised. (www.gofundme.com/f/quotyou-are-lovedquot-mural-standing-against-suicide).
Bonnie Gregory, who contacted Cook and arranged with Joan and Tye Steinbach of Thinker Toys to use their wall on Southwest 35th, is hoping to see more You Are Loved murals locally after this one has been funded.
"The intent is to share the You Are Loved Mural Project with all of the high schools, middle schools and elementary schools in Portland and the surrounding area in support of the statewide enactment of Senate Bill 52, known as Adi's Act. The new law "requires Oregon schools to develop 'a comprehensive district plan on student suicide prevention for students in kindergarten through grade 12,'" she said in a statement.
Cook was working with a space for his mural that was a little bit unusual. "It says "You Are Loved" twice," he said. "The reason is, cars are parked in front of that wall a lot of the time so rather than just doing it once and having the message obscured by cars, there was space on the far left where there's no parking and we put the message there and then again as the space gets bigger.
"Because it is on the side of a toy store, I really wanted to go with child-like colors," he said.
"A friend told me 'It looks like a pile of toys,' which I really appreciate. I can see it that way - the way it's really bright colors with the patterns - it all adds up to feeling like a child's toy room," he added.
Cari Carr, who watched her daughters Aishah and Khadidja Mokrani paint part of the mural after they got instructions from Cook, thinks that's a great idea and would be perfect for Markham Elementary, which her daughters attend.
"We love this. It's incredible and family-friendly and accessible. The girls are learning to paint a mural," Carr said.
For more information about the You Are Loved Mural Project see www.youarelovedmurals.com
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