MEDFORD, Ore.– Kids Unlimited’s decades-old building is getting a new face as part of its approach to bring a stronger, more positive presence in what the school says has been a distressed part of Medford.
The 40-year-old building, previously known as a bowling alley called Medford Lanes, has been occupied by the school for the last 15 years. Since that time, the school has expanded and increased student performance. The school wants to continue that progress by providing a bright spot in Medford with a mural painted by an internationally recognized artist.
Based out of Ashland, Xavi Panneton is currently working on the mural which will cover both buildings on the Kids Unlimited campus. One of the buildings, the former Lithia Volkswagen building, is set to be a new family literacy and resource center. It will house a pre-school and maker space for youth entrepreneurial programs including the CMYKids print shop.
Panneton says this is one of the largest projects he’s done due to the sheer amount of painting that needs to be done across two buildings. He designed the concept himself in the hope it will help inspire the students and the broader community.
“I’ve always wanted to create spaces for kids and so the fact that so many young people are going to get experience this art in their environment means a lot,” he said. “You’re giving them a visual stimulation that will hopefully help to open their mind.”
Tom Cole, CEO of Kids Unlimited, says the school is very excited to be working with Panneton. He hopes this mural will reflect the positive work that’s happening at the school.
“It’s huge for us. It’s a 40-year-old building that essentially the exterior has stayed the same and now it gets a chance to have something so unique to southern Oregon,” said Cole.
The mural is set to be completed by the end of October.
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.