MEDFORD, Ore.– A colorful upgrade is being given to a local organization’s building in downtown Medford, all thanks to the hard work of some teen student artists.
In a partnership between Jackson Care Connect and LIFE Art, an organization that helps youth with emotional or mental health issues find a healthy outlet through art and mentor support.
“I think it’s all about giving kids a chance to take some ownership in their community,” said Phil Ortega, director of the LIFE Art. “They’re going to drive by here and show their friends, their families, their neighbors, ‘Hey I was a part of that.'”
The mural celebrates strong families and strong minds. The installation is being done at Jackson Care Connect’s Starting Strong building near the downtown and is signifies the organizations new initiative Strong Families, a program that helps families through childhood by connecting them to health care and community resources.
“We really worked with LIFE art and the youth and we went to them and said what does healthy mean to you,” said Riki Rosenthal, the Starting Strong program specialist. “What do you see as healthy when you think of being healthy or your family. What comes to mind!”
Already Rosenthal says a few of their clients have seen the artwork and have been pleasantly surprised. This artwork is the welcome mat that’s already brightening peoples days.
“They walk in and they kind of do a double take,” she said. “They step back and they say wait a second, that’s new.”
That type of reaction is just what these young artists want. It’s a recognition of their passion and the opportunity art can have on changing a community.
“There’s a lot of people that walk by so you just see this and you’re like wow that’s beautiful it just brightens up everything,” said Iyannah Perezchica, an Eagle Point High School student.
“I think it’s going to give it a little more hope around here because color always brightens up the mood,” said Monique Ortega, a North Medford High School student.
The focus may be on a mural but with heart and the occasional flower, its effect could be a positive one for a community looking for hope.
Over 15 students from across the Rogue Valley have taken part to help with the mural. It’s expected to be finished by next week.
NBC5 News Reporter Miles Furuichi graduated from Chapman University with degrees in English and Journalism. He received post graduate experience in Los Angeles in photojournalism and commercial photography. He also spent time in Dublin, Ireland working in print journalism and advertising.
Miles is a Rogue Valley native, raised in Ashland. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking and photography.
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