Members of the Te Awhina Youth Group show off the last panel of their mural. PHOTO/EMILY IRELAND
‘Scary’ alleyway transformed
Pride in community
A “dark and dingy” alleyway in Masterton East riddled with graffiti has undergone a massive transformation.
About 30 young people, aged from 5 to 21 from Te Awhina Youth Group have made over the space with all the colours of the rainbow, taking ownership and pride in the artwork.
Connecting Communities youth development coordinator Cherie McNamara said the walkway, off Church St between Cameron and Stuart Cres, used to be a “scary place for people to walk down”.
“It was dark and dingy, there was tagging all over it, and it just wasn’t a nice alleyway,” she said.
“People used to dump rubbish here.”
The mural, consisting of 16 panels covering the spectrum of the rainbow, has brightened up the whole alleyway and has “made it feel like a safer place to walk”, Cherie said.
“For me personally, it was a great way for these young people to express themselves.
“They came up with all of these designs. Right from the word go, it was their initiative.
“It’s about building community pride. We did that.
“It also gives the rangatahi in the community a chance to express themselves.”
Youth Group facilitators Nicole Crabtree and Michelle Trueman said the enthusiasm of those involved was “amazing”.
“Everyone was chipping in, doing bits and pieces and taking ownership of a panel if they wanted to, and helping each other out,” Nicole said.
Michelle said it was inspiring to see some youths, who sometimes “got themselves into trouble” get involved with the mural project.
“We had a couple of them in our group that helped design it,” she said.
“It was cool for them because now they have pride in an artwork that isn’t tagging on the fence.
“They’ve created something that people are going to enjoy.”
The youths created the mural under the leadership of resident artist Vicky Pilling and it will be entered into the Resene Mural Masterpieces competition.
The project was sponsored by He Kahui Wairarapa.