For the past nine months we have unveiled the construction progress on our new Center for Programs and Services. As each piece of the building comes to life, we see more fully the exciting transformation of our new home and the programs it will house. The north parking area of the building is protected by a new cinderblock wall – intentionally forbidding, but not exactly the spirit we wished to share with our neighbors. The idea of a mural emerged and opened the way to a colorful addition. After seeking an artist for this project, we selected Valentina Gonzalez. As our partner, Valentina brought along impressive artistic skill and local knowledge: She lives in Whiteaker and has her finger on the pulse of the neighborhood. To assist in the process, we brought together a small advisory committee to envision the project. The committee was comprised of Wendy Dame (board president); Cynthia Price (consumer council president); Kate Bollons (local artist); Carl Oslund (Oslund Design); and Jim Mender (McKenzie Commercial). Out of the deliberations of this committee came the idea of the cycle of help. People need help, they get help and then are in a position to give help.
Another prominent theme was the idea of transformation. When people come to ShelterCare their lives are in a state of crisis, and through their work with our staff, their lives become more stable. With these guidelines in hand, Valentina created a beautiful vision including bright vibrant colors, unique symbols, and interconnected honeycombs. Community members also had a hand in this project. Working in partnership with Create! Eugene, we offered a workshop which taught tips and tricks of spray art and provided the opportunity for participants to paint part of the mural. This project also benefited from generous donations of paint and painting supplies from Forrest Paint, The Duck Store and McKenzie Commercial Contractors. This project was a labor of love which brought together the talents of many people to leave a lasting mark on our new neighborhood.
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