Lina Cholewinski is our Project Coordinator at Urban ArtWorks, and an incredible artist to boot. We asked her for her thoughts on public art and its role in creating engaged communities:

How did you get started with creating murals?

Everything began with my involvement in Urban Artworks. I was mentored by Kevin Drake and Jesse Brown with design details, color combos and painting techniques. By having built an amazing foundation from these two great artists, I have had the opportunity to execute other’s designs on a larger scale. By having been entrusted to execute a multitude of styles I have learned various techniques that I have adopted into my own work. In the past year and a half I have been able to design and paint my own murals with the basics well covered (except for how to avoid getting paint all over my clothes).

What inspirations inform your work as an artist?

Its all about the client! What do they bring to the conversation? What are they looking for? Most of my works nowadays are mural commissions. In my own personal work (when I find time), I pull ideas from vintage botany books and create ink drawings of flowers.

Lina’s Richmark Mural

What are your thoughts about public art as a tool to reach young people?

Statistics, commentaries, everything has told us that art WORKS for young people, yet that is the first program/class to be cut from schools. I think its vital that programs like Urban ArtWorks exist, especially for court-involved youth that need an outlet to express themselves. And what better way to do that than to paint large-scale murals they put their heart and sweat into? By having ownership of the art they create, the youth can feel like they made an impact within the community, making them wholly a part of it. The even better part is that they can show their success for years to come to anyone!

What are some of your past projects that you’re most proud of?

I’m proud of all of the projects we have our hands on! My all-time favorite must be the Richmark mural though, it was a quick turn around with absolute free artistic expression (as long as there were no straight lines…). It was a blast to paint with great volunteers, perfect weather and so many colors!

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