For three days in March, the YMCA Oasis Daylight Center received a special visit from an international art project. Beginning at LaVenture Middle School in Mount Vernon, a mural facilitated by artist Benjamin Swatez made its way to a Syrian refugee camp in Amman, Jordan and a second created by 65 Syrian boys returned for its finishing touches to YMCA Oasis Daylight Center youth. The 12x5 foot mural project was created in partnership with Aaron Wagner from Voices of the Children, a nonprofit focused on pairing teens worldwide in collaborative art projects to promote social and global awareness and create positive change.
The event was open to supporters, curious young ones, and community partners. Those who participated learned painting techniques from Benjamin and then added their own ideas of home and community to the mural. Teens sang in unison as they created their masterpiece. The Daylight Center received more than 30 visits over three days with several returning youth and many new teens visiting and touring the space.
The finished mural will now go to the Muramid Mural Museum and Art Center in Oceanside, California, before it makes its way to the United Nations’ headquarters in New York City for the United Nations’ International Day of Peace this September.