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York Road Initiative to hold Art@Work mural celebration

Art@work mural
Photo credit: Brianna Yacovelli, ’20

The York Road Initiative (YRI) will hold a mural celebration on Friday, Aug. 11, at 6 p.m. to commemorate the collaborative summer-long teen youth program, Art@Work. The celebration will take place at 4601 York Road in Baltimore, the same location where the mural was painted.

The mural, which will be titled “Elevate,” will feature a dove and an olive branch in the middle of a pair of hands elevating the bird. It’s scheduled to be completed by Thursday, Aug. 3.

“It’s a nod to the peace the community is wanting at a time when violence has been the public narrative,” said Gia Grier McGinnis, Dr.PH., executive director of Loyola’s Center for Community, Service, and Justice and York Road Initiative. “Youth development is one of YRI’s program pillars and this is a great, high-impact program for all involved.”

Summer 2023 marked the third year YRI partnered with the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts (BOPA) and the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Employment Development (MOED) on the Art@Work summer program.

“The real power of the program is that the teens learn their work can be inspiring and meaningful to those around them, which gives them the confidence to know they can make a difference in their community,” Grier McGinnis said.

During the development process, Art@Work teens spent time interviewing local community neighbors about themes they’d like to see in the mural. Then, the youth artists individually interpreted the themes of the interviews to their sketchbooks.

With the help of lead artist Iandry Randriamandroso – whose b’morebirds murals can be found throughout the area – all of the teens’ themes were consolidated into a single mural. The teens then pitched the mural concept to the local community members, and it was well-received.

"A desire for connection and collaboration kept coming up when we interviewed community residents about what the mural message should be,” said Art@Work co-founder and 2023 Program Manager Nora Howell. “This year we have focused on using the mural as a tool to bring community residents together in the message, but also in the process of the mural.”

The Art@Work program was launched the summer of 2015 through a partnership between Jubilee Arts and BOPA. Art @Work is a five-week artist apprenticeship program employing Baltimore City youth enrolled in MOED’s Youth-Works program to create murals in their communities.

About York Road Initiative
The York Road Initiative is geographically focused in the Govans community of north Baltimore City, specifically, Cold Spring Lane (Loyola Evergreen Campus) to Northern Parkway (Loyola Clinical Centers at Belvedere Square) and involves community constituencies, including neighborhood residents and associations, faith-based, civic and business organizations, public and private leaders.