Friday, February 15, 2008

"Pay It Forward" Mural


(Flashback to early January, 2008)

The Objective: create a mural in the play yard and transform the drab block walls into a colorful, happy environment for the children served by the Playhouse at Children Today's new North Long Beach location.

I wanted to create a magical world to resemble a fun, grassy, garden-like place from a bug’s eye view through the eyes of a child. My inspiration for the design style came from two of my favorite artists; Henri Rousseau, known for his very stylized jungle scenes; and Eric Carle, a beloved writer and illustrator of children’s books, with whom many kids are already familiar.

Illustration by Eric Carle from, "The Very Quiet Cricket"

"Exotic Landscape" by Henri Rousseau, 1910
In working with a crew of teen volunteers, the approach needed to be ”cool” enough to engage them, yet simple enough not to intimidate the inexperienced artist.

I made the renderings to scale divided into five sections, and outlined the drawing onto the wall with a fat Sharpie. The kids spread out in front of their favorite areas, and we went to work.

As the result of five boys who gave their dollars to finance the paint, and the beautiful brushwork of more than a dozen volunteers– parents included– the “Pay It Forward” mural came to life.

It is my hope that the children will feel the sense of joy and comfort,

when being greeted each day by their familiar “friends”

upon returning to their safe haven at Play House North.

And that the teens who so generously gave of their money and their time, will remember the plight of homeless children as they grow into young adults.

May we all grow in gratitude and a continued spirit of charity!

To find out more about Children Today and how you can assist families affected by homelessness, go to:

To those who are already helping support Children Today, thank you!

1 comment:

JVG said...

Love the whole project! Teens volunteering for charity and mural painting. Great art to spark kids imaginations. Helping people get back on thier feet. Got to love it.