The Jersey City Mural Arts Youth Program gives city youngsters a paid opportunity to express themselves through art; this year, the program has set its artistic sights on heroes from around the world.
From Nelson Mandela, to composer and instrumentalist Fela Kuti, to education activist and Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, student participants in the program have chosen a number of iconic figures to be featured on a Jersey City mural — using over 800 cans of paint and multiple gallons of house paint to make their vision become real.
Every July and August for the past five years, the organization has teamed up with 25 to 30 students, who make their case on why they want to paint a particular person. The artists range from 13 to 22 years old.
“I really hope they leave with a sense their contribution to the community matters and is noticed, and they can make a difference, and they have a voice and their creativity matters,” said Catherina Hart, co-director of the program.
There are about 140 murals in Jersey City, and when this one’s done, it’ll be the longest to date.