Session: Young Women’s Design + Building Institute, Summer 2021

Builders: 29 participants

Materials: Exterior paint, primer, cardboard stencils, Frog brand tape, rags and paper towels, paintbrushes (with handles cut off!), utility knife, drop cloth, paint trays, rollers, paint cups.

Description: Over the course of 2 weeks in our Young Women’s Design + Building Institute, 29 teen girls and gender-expansive youth painted 6 vibrant murals in the garden space at the Ursula Sherman Village, a transitional housing shelter run by our community client, BOSS (Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency). Inspired by the bright colors and simple shapes (which we’ve seen Project Color Corps use beautifully!), our arts instructor HyeYoon Song designed the 6 graphics based on the elements plants (and humans) need to thrive: sun, soil, air, water, nutrition, and love. Our staff printed the graphics full scale to make stencils and also mapped key points onto the garden boxes using a coordinate plane. After the boxes were primed and prepped, our teen artists worked in small groups alongside HyeYoon and arts instructor Maya Vilaplana to tape off and paint them according to appropriate design. Using a mixture of medium-sized paintbrushes (with their handles cut off for better precision!), small rollers, and tiny watercolor brushes, our teens laid down bright fields of color onto the fiberglass garden boxes, taking care to paint within the boundaries of the tape and to touch up any mistakes.

By the end of the two weeks, our teens had painted 6 beautiful, bright garden boxes in the middle of the Ursula Sherman Village complex. The staff and residents at BOSS were thrilled with the renovation. “These new boxes give me energy,” one elderly resident said. “They give me life.”

Young Women
Girls Garage garden murals
Teen artist in front of garden mural