OSWEGO, NY – The advent of warm dry weather has brought out a colorful species along the banks of the Oswego River.
The Springboard Mural Project has launched another season of bringing some color to Oswego’s Riverwalk West.
Nearly a dozen young artists are collaborating on close to 20 new murals along the walkway.
It’s the committee’s third round of artwork, according to Dawn Metott, youth activities coordinator for the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau.
“Last year, we had seven students who created murals along the river walk. We have more than that this year and are looking to complete 17 murals,” she said. “Last year, at times, it was very cold and rainy. There was one day it was so cold we had to wear sweatshirts and mittens while painting. This year, the weather has been terrific.”
The students created their own designs and submitted them to the Common Council for approval prior to committing the work to public space.
The mural project is a youth-focused initiative, with the design concept and implementation directed by local young people with the support of the Springboard Mural Committee.
It was originally a city sponsored community development plan to address graffiti issues.
“There are multiple benefits related to the success of this project. The students who participated in this project became more involved in school, graffiti issues are being addressed, and relationships have been developed by a wide cross-section of the Oswego community,” Metott said earlier this spring. “Instead of just covering the graffiti, the community has come together and invested in something special that reflects the sense of community pride which has made this project successful.”
The mural committee is a community collaborative that is comprised of Oswego youth, city of Oswego officials, teachers and students of Oswego High School, artist mentors, as well as Youth Services Street Outreach, the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau and the Oswego YMCA.
Elizabeth Manion is one of the young artists working on the project. The high honors student will be a senior this fall at Oswego High School.
“I’m creating a rainbow, and it’s going to continue down the stairs (next to the river). We’re going to have a pot of gold at the bottom,” she explained.
She said she’s always wanted to paint a really big rainbow, and this project gives her a huge “canvas” with which to work.
Other creations include a representation of the Oswego Lighthouse, a tribute to the OHS Marching Buccaneers and the artist’s favorite cat among several others.
Burke’s has made a donation to the project to assist the young artists this summer.
“Raby’s Ace Home Center did a lot the first two years. In fact, we still have supplies that they donated that we’re still using,” Metott pointed out.
Works of art that were completed in previous years can be viewed along the river walk on the west side of the river, directly below the Utica Street Bridge.
Anyone interested in participating, either as a mentor or youth artist or in donating to the program, should contact Metott at 349-3575 or [email protected]
Some youthful offenders, sentenced to community service by Youth Court, had been at the site previously getting the area cleaned up and the walls primed and ready to be painted.
The Oswego City-County Youth Bureau is sponsoring a training class for new members of the City and County Youth Court program. The course will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 11 through 15 at Oswego City Hall, 13 W. Oneida St.
“Youth Court hears real cases of youthful offenders who are referred by local law enforcement agencies or schools for first-time minor offenses,” said Brian Chetney, county youth coordinator for the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau.
Applications can be obtained by contacting the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau at 349-3451 or 1-800-596-3200, ext 3451or by e-mail at [email protected]