Tunnel Vision on the Bolin Creek Trail
This spring, local high school students now have a tunnel on the Bolin Creek Trail to use as their canvas for artistic expression. Beginning April 7, hikers and bikers near the Pritchard Avenue greenway access will see an artist and students painting the walls and ceiling of the tunnel with vivid colors and abstract shapes. The collaboration, supported by the Town of Chapel Hill’s Community Arts and Culture, provides students practical instruction about art and design while giving them a positive way to express themselves.
Artist Daniel LeClair is leading these students in mural instruction workshops, recognizing that having a strong youth voice in creative placemaking art promotes community values and well-being for all. A second crew of high school teens will produce a video documentary of the entire process with guidance from Becky Wierschen and sponsored by Boomerang Youth.
The project’s theme is movement and water, which references Bolin Creek, but also other more personal associations in the students’ designs. One of those is an ethereal depiction of a girl blowing fish from her hand. Another – featuring Monarch butterflies and the words, ’respect’, ‘equal voice’, ‘compassion’ and ‘equality’ - is deeply personal, as the author relates the water and movement theme to her family’s immigration to the United States. As part of the instruction, students have been critiquing each other’s works and refining their designs.
Daniel LeClair is an artist/designer residing in Chapel Hill, NC. He recently returned to the U.S. from having lived in Indonesia for 15 years. Influenced by life and experiences in this tropical Southeast Asian country, his work explores color and geometric shapes in order to create emotion, movement, and expression.
This teen mural project stems from the Into the Streets: Community Arts Project Program of Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture. It aims to directly engage and benefit communities in the Chapel Hill/ Carrboro area by working with an artist-in-residence. Past projects have involved the differently abled, people experiencing homelessness, African American and Latino teens, children on the Autism Spectrum, and many other groups.
Boomerang’s mission is to inspire youth to bounce back from challenges and move towards positive change. They provide support in times of crisis and beyond, help students manage challenges, and find ways to cope with adversity in order to become resilient, independent people.
For inrormation about the Town’s Community & Cultural Arts, visit http://www.chapelhillarts.org.