We asked Mia, one of the youth employees who is currently enrolled in our work programming, for her thoughts about her time with us. Here’s what she had to say:

Can you tell us a little about yourself? What are some of your hobbies?
My name is Maria. My hobbies are coloring, watching movies and just going on adventures.

If you could be any crayon color what color would you be?
A rainbow one.

Are all those hobbies being represented at your job at Urban Artworks?
Yeah, cause I feel like I can be myself here! I also get to meet new people and just have fun with working.

What is your favorite part?
That’s a tough question, actually… It’s therapeutic. It makes me forget about what’s going on in my day, so I love coming here and just painting. And since I’ve been doing good with the really difficult parts, it’s like a boost of self esteem. I feel good about myself because I’m learning new things and good at them.

What new tricks have you learned?
The rough parts are the smallest little angles. I used to tell Brian I couldn’t do them and he was so nice and helped me. And then the second day I just did them myself and it just made me feel good about myself.

Can you tell us a little about the mural you’re working on? How was the design process? Can you tell us how it went from your perspective?
Well, when I got hired we were already painting so I wasn’t able to make the shapes. I was a little bummed. But Brian has been teaching up how to paint the hard parts and drawing out the measurements which has been cool. I’ve made a couple mistakes with the hard parts but I’ve gotten to fix them and it just makes me feel good about myself.

How do you think this mural will change this space?
Hopefully vandalizing will stop. It’s very abstract so everyone coming out of the court keeps saying “WOW! That’s crazy!” And there’s so much meaning behind the mural and it’s peaceful. So I hope peace comes around..

How do you like working with the team?
Feels good being around people my age; it’s just fun! This is my first job so it’s cool.

Has working here changed your mindset on anything?
Yeah, like all the colors just make me feel positive about myself. Painting here also just makes me feel good and I get to go home and rest but I wish I could work longer, ya know? Also, I’ve learned a lot about work and work ethics… like who wants to have a job they don’t enjoy?

Any advice to future Artworks youth?
Keep up the good work and you’ll really enjoy this and take your time and do your best!

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