Avondale YFD Center Murals

by the Artist SEVEN

 

Public Art Chattanooga partnered with the Avondale community to commission two community driven mural designs at the Avondale Youth and Family Development Center. 

photo by j. adams

LOVE Mural

The City of Chattanooga opened a new, state of the art 23,000 square foot Youth and Family Development (YFD) Center in the Avondale neighborhood in late 2019. The Center houses a full service library containing a computer lab and MakerSpace, as well as a dance room, gym, classrooms, and community room. The Center is open to the public and is available for a variety of community functions.

During the design process of the Avondale YFD Center, residents expressed considerable interest in a large-scale mural resulting in a prominent space on the exterior of the building facing Wilcox Blvd. The 12'4" x 42'6"  mural's design was informed by the community’s input through community engagement opportunities facilitated by commissioned artist SEVEN and PAC Creative Strategist, Erika Roberts. A smaller  8' x 26' mural was also informed by the engagement sessions, and that mural is located in the Center's interior across from the reception area.

The exterior mural project is funded by the City of Chattanooga’s Art in Capital program. The Art in Capital program ensures that public art is integral to how the City builds itself and provides more opportunities for the identities and cultures within our communities to be reflected in shared public spaces.

ARTIST STATEMENT

"The  LOVE mural  concept  design was  created  based  on input  from  the  community  obtained  by  the  creative  strategist  and  community  outreach  coordinator  Erika  Roberts.  Through  a  series  of  community  based  activities  and  zoom  gatherings  I  received information from the community on what they would like to see reflected  in the mural artwork.  Of these activities, the coloring pages of artwork submitted by  the community’s middle school students proved to be most insightful. The artwork depicted descriptions or images of colorful and vibrant  themes of sports activities,  family and togetherness.  

In  addition  to  the  community  feedback  another  key  piece  of  the  equation  was  a  poem that I asked Erika Roberts to write to help inspire my imagination. The poem  spoke of love energy that would radiate as a result of the installation of this mural. It  was written almost as if it was from a  perception  of  foresight. The  “love” element  was what stood out and influenced the design the most. I took all those community  input ingredients and mixed them up to formulate the mural you now see.  I tried to  create  a mural  that  would  be  aesthetically  pleasing  while  complimenting  the  new  modern  styled  architecture  of  the  building  with  a  theme  that  was  colorful  and  reflected the love of family, sports and varying dynamics of the family unit." 

-The Artist SEVEN

Sax Dreams

#fortheartofit (1)

 

 

View the recorded

Concept Design Presentation

HERE

About the Artist

The Artist SEVEN

The Artist SEVEN (AKA Eric Finley) is a street art muralist, illustrator and graphic artist native to Chattanooga, TN. He has a B.F.A. from American Intercontinental University in Atlanta, GA. SEVEN is the founder and creative director for the Burnin’ Bridges Street Art Project, and also hosts an annual “mural jam” in Chattanooga’s Southside community. SEVEN strives to make an artistic impact in Chattanooga, while helping to develop a cultural awareness and an appreciation for street art as a relevant and empowering art form in today’s society.

About the Creative Strategist

 

ERIKA ROBERTS - Velvet Poetry Productions

Erika Roberts is  a mother, grandmother, a poet and creator. Her artistry began 36 years ago in elementary school when she was introduced to poetry in the 5th grade. She noticed she had a great relationship with creativity as a means to communicate. Since then, she has become a humble part of the performing community in Chattanooga by creating shows to highlight the creatives therein. Erika is a successful workshop creator and facilitator under her production company, Velvet Poetry Productions, where she has performed at Barking Legs Theater, Bessie Smith Hall, The Hunter Museum, The Camp House, Lincoln Park, and Mercy Junction. She currently is contracted by Glass House Collective, in addition to performing in a monthly late night poetry show at The Palace Theater. Erika is also the recipient of the 2020 Chattanooga Business Elite's Best in the Arts Black Excellence award.

 

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