Jodi Netzer, Tucson Arts Brigade
Michael Schwartz, Tucson Arts Brigade
The Tucson Arts Brigade (TAB) is proud to announce the completion of our latest project, “Inside the Overpass” at 29th Street and Columbus Blvd. The official mural unveiling is on Wednesday, May 9th, from 3:30pm to 6:30pm, and will also feature art from youth participant portfolios, speakers, featured guests, live music, food, and more. The public is encouraged to attend this free event. This mural is part of TAB’s countywide “Beautify and Unify” initiative.
This project represents two years of hard work by youth ages 8-18 at the Jim & Vicki Click Boys & Girls Club, which is adjacent to the overpass mural. With the help of Tucson Arts Brigade's Executive Director and Teaching Artist, Michael B. Schwartz, assistants Linda Kerr, Molly Moore, and Kathleen Murphy, the youth designed, created, and installed the works of art.
“In 2009 we were invited by the 29th Street Weed and Seed Coalition (now the 4R Coalition) to help address beautification, graffiti and the need for after school youth arts programming. TAB responded to that need by establishing a Community Arts program at the JVC Boys and Girls Clubhouse. The youth in this area have proven that they will become successful leaders, business owners and caretakers of this place. They have produced an amazing body of artwork that will be enjoyed by our community for years to come. Creating a beautiful community has become a priority for youth in our program,” says Schwartz.
This site was chosen because the overpass was a favorite target for graffiti taggers of all ages. After cleaning hundreds of tags and over 80 pounds of trash and debris, the artwork was installed with the intention of preventing graffiti, beautifying the neighborhood, and helping to restore a sense of pride to the area. The participants not only learned important lessons about art, but they gained positive tools for personal expression, community cooperation, and formal permission for public projects.
The project has proved to be successful in reducing graffiti tagging on the overpass, and throughout the adjacent neighborhoods, Julia Keen, Naylor, Roberts, Alvernon Heights and Myers that comprise the 4R Coalition.
Tucson Arts Brigade (TAB) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, participatory, service-based community arts and education organization that offers intergenerational and cross-cultural opportunities for civic engagement. TAB employs arts-based solutions to civic and social issues, including graffiti, bullying, health & wellness, and sustainable design. With measurable results through neighborhood-based murals, dance, theater, and special events, TAB is weaving community through the arts.
This project has been made possible by support from the 4R Coalition, Puffin Foundation, Pantano Christian Church, Pro-Neighborhoods and The Tucson Pima Arts Council / Kresge In Tucson.
For more info about this and other projects, visit our web site www.TucsonArtsBrigade.org or call 520-623-2119.