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Mural Project Brightens West Linear Park Walls

OSWEGO, NY – A youth-focused initiative continues to brighten the West Linear Park in the Port City.

The design concept and implementation of a series of murals is directed by local young people with the support of an adult committee.

Nicholas Cocks and Hannah West work on their murals recently.
Nicholas Cocks and Hannah West work on their murals recently.

It is a community collaborative comprised of Oswego youth, city officials, teachers and students of the Oswego High School, Oswego State student teachers, Oswego businesses and artists, as well as Oswego County Opportunities Youth Services Street Outreach and the Oswego
City-County Youth Bureau.

Nicholas Cocks and Hannah West are two of the young artists who created the mural designs and are bringing them to life on the concrete walls.

The other two youth artists are Christine Pingry and Melissa Guppy.

“We came up with the ideas for the murals,” Nicholas said.

“Our ideas had to be OK’d by the Common Council,” Hannah explained.

Once they submitted their initial drawings, everyone involved offered critiques, Nicholas pointed out.

Hannah’s block was a depiction of music and Nicholas was using a playing card to show the duality of man.

Hannah is in studio art and Nicholas “is just talented on many levels.”

“I play a lot of music, but I can’t listen to music without seeing pictures in my head,” he said. “So, I just kind of get my ideas for art through listening to music.”

“They have only had one good work day, and that was a couple of weeks ago. Since then it has rained on the days that we planned to work,” explained Dawn Metott, youth activities coordinator with the Youth Bureau.

Hannah and Nicholas braved the cold temperatures to get a little bit more done last week.

They have returned this week to hopefully wrap up the painting in the warmer weather.

“We’re trying to finish up some more this week,” Metott said. “We should be just about ready to seal at least two of the four murals.”

“The first time we came here we were in shorts,” Hannah said recently. “Now, we’re trying to paint in coats and mittens.”

“It’s exterior, latex (paint). But I think it’s supposed to be applied at 50 degrees or above,” Metott said.

Sponsors for the project are the city of Oswego, Oswego City-County Youth Bureau, Oswego County Opportunities, Oswego Art Collaborative, and Oswego YMCA.

The school district did the first mural. And, the mayor thought it would be a good idea to have smaller artworks created along the retaining wall below it, Metott explained.

The idea was to cover up the graffiti in the area and offer an artistic outlet for talented area youth.

“We will continue to do as much as we have young people for and support for,” Metott said.

The committee members will continue to work on the project over the winter, planning and suggesting new artworks, seeking funds – to maintain the interest level among the youngsters, she added.

“That way we can also present our ideas to the council for approval over the winter, so we can get right started in the spring,” she said.

There are some images that have been approved by the city and will be ready to go next year.

“I have another one,” Hannah said. “But we won’t get to that one until the spring.”

Committee members involved in this round of murals are Joe Rial, local artist/mentor; John Belt, outreach specialist with OCO Youth Services; Kathleen Knopp, prevention and early intervention program manager, OCO Youth Services; Linda Goodness, assistant director of the city’s Community Development Office; and Metott.

Metott said she’d like to thank the committee members for volunteering their time and artistic talents, the Common Council and the mayor for seeing the value in supporting youth in the community, all of the sponsors for their donations, and, the parents/ family members who have helped out so much.

SUNY Oswego students at all levels participated in the graffiti clean up for “Community involvement Day” late last month.

The event was coordinated by Alyssa Amyotte, coordinator of Service Learning and Community Service at the campus.

They worked in conjunction with Mike Smith, Oswego DPW commissioner, to complete the cleanup and preparing the walls for the mural project.

For additional information or to participate, contact Metott at the Oswego
City-County Youth Bureau, phone 349-3575.