Student artists unveil Monroe mural

Student apprentices at the Art Commission's Young Artists at Work program unveiled the mural they painted over the summer Monday on Monroe Street.

Lucas County commissioners and members of the Arts Commission unveiled a mural Monday painted by a group of students from the Young Artists at Work Program.

The new community mural, commissioned by the Toledo Area Ministries, graces the brick facade at 3043 Monroe Street in west toledo, adjacent to the Fifth Third Bank branch. The project was made possible by a partnership with the Lucas County Board of Commissioners and Lucas County Job and Family Services.

Since 1994, the YAW program has offered student apprenticeships as working artists to at-risk and diverse youths in the community. The 2012 summer program employed 42 students between the ages of 14 and 18 to foster their artistry under the mentorship of local artists and educators.

A group of 21 students worked for nearly three months at the UT Center for Visual Arts facility to complete the Monroe mural.

"We all helped with painting a bit of it, all the different sections," said student apprentice Treva Mathis. "I think it really portrays what the client wanted with community, and hope, and love."

Ara Eckman, who painted many of the people and flowers in the mural, said everyone wanted "diversity" and "different ethnicities" represented. She continued, "It took a lot of work, everyone was so tired by the time we finished. It was so fun!"

A group of YAW students is currently working to complete another mural later this year. Past works from the group can be found throughout Toledo at the Dog Warden, Oneida Farm, benches in the Warehouse District, and a mural for the amphitheatre in Ottawa Park.

Eckman said, "I'm excited to know that when I come back to Toledo this is still gonna be here and I'm gonna know that I did it, and I get to show my kids that I did this."

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