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Mentorship brings splash of colour to PEC Youth Centre

Photographed at the revel reception to celebrate the mural, at back, were: Mira Barnes, Rachel Morris (parent), Artist Vanessa Rieger, Yvonne Cassibo (parent), Lee Cassibo and, at front: Youth Centre Programs Coordinator Whitney Shantz, Maliyah Blatenszky and Nik Panagiotopoulos.

The ROC PEC Youth Centre celebrated the official unveiling of a ‘You Belong Here’ mural expressing the sentiments the artists have for the Picton centre.

It was a collaborative effort between local multidisciplinary artist Vanessa Rieger, and high school youth who attend the ROC’s daily lunches and after-school activities.

The ROC secured funding through the Youth Community Actions Project to transform a wall in the Youth Centre’s games room and during nine sessions, Rieger and a core group of six youth met for a couple of hours each week to collaborate on what the Youth Centre meant to each of them, what they envisioned for the space, and then for the practical and professional experience of painting the mural itself.

Each participant received a sketch book and some art supplies to document the process. They worked with various mediums and techniques, including pencil sketches and acrylic paint, to achieve the final results.

“The ROC was so pleased to be approached by Vanessa about this project,” said Darlene Thompson, executive direction. “We have witnessed first-hand how being exposed to various mediums of art have supported the development of innovation skills when youth are encouraged to express themselves through the creation of art.”

The project wrapped up during a reveal party with the youth, friends and families, and members of the public invited to see the completed mural, enjoy some light music and refreshments, and engage with Rieger about the process.

The youth centre, at 299 Main St, Picton, provides a safe, supervised multi-use space for teens to foster creativity, community engagement and entrepreneurship in Prince Edward County.

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