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Spray Paint Dreams

JUN 13, 2011

Filling in every last spot on the mural, YI Leader Cesar got up high, writing, “We artists are professional dreamers,” May 2011. Photograph by Sean Carroll

Filling in every last spot on the mural, YI Leader Cesar got up high, writing, “We artists are professional dreamers,” May 2011. Photograph by Sean Carroll

One of the exciting, fun-filled events that took place during Community Day was a collaborative mural project with 2008 Whitney Biennial artist Mario Ybarra Jr. and Karla Diaz called California Dreaming, inspired by their Los Angeles roots and out of this world imaginations. In celebration of the Whitney’s new building project in the Meatpacking District, teens were invited to create a mural on the wall at THE DETAILS GUILD with the artists. 

This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for teens to collaborate with artists, get their hands dirty, and express themselves, was a hit with not only teens, but their families and youth of all ages as well.

Mario and Karla, of Slanguage Studio, flew in from Los Angeles to facilitate this interactive, hands-on project with participants from the Whitney’s Youth Insights program, which brings NYC teens together with contemporary artists for a unique and collaborative exchange. Teens from all over the city were also invited to participate in the day’s activity. Inspired by the artists’ black-and-white images of characters with boomboxes and cameras for heads, teens grabbed cans of spray paint and took over the wall with memorable messages like “WE ARTISTS ARE PROFESSIONAL DREAMERS!” and “WHITNEY TEENS, WE ARE FUTURE.” Many teens also designed their own stencils and used them for images on the wall while others worked on colorful t-shirts and painter’s caps. The final artwork was truly a vibrant reflection of a group of teens with boundless imaginations and creativity.

THE DETAILS GUILD created a time-lapse video of Community Day’s collaborative mural project with artists Mario Ybarra Jr and Karla Diaz, May 2011.

DETAILS Magazine documented the afternoon-long progression of the mural project and created a cool time-lapse video available for viewing here or in the teen section of the Whitney’s website. Also be sure to visit Youth Insights on Facebook and Flickr for more pictures from California Dreaming and other Community Day youth programs.


By Berry Stein, Youth Programs Intern