Teens help fight graffiti by painting new murals in downtown Reno
If you have driven through downtown or midtown Reno anytime recently, then you have probably noticed a lot more visible art than once was there.
Not only do the new murals make the area more visually appealing, they also help prevent graffiti.
“We try to get with some of the local business owners in midtown and downtown whose businesses have been hit with graffiti,” says Calvin Martinez of the Children’s Cabinet. “Once they approve the sketch, we get to work.”
In a project backed by the Reno Police Department a group of teenagers with the Children’s Cabinet recently started painting murals of their own, including one on the side of the parking garage of the Washoe County Social Services building.
Amber Howell, the Director of Washoe County Dept. of Social Services says the teens have not been given a template for the mural, saying the county wanted it to be youth inspired and youth created.
“One of our staff was inspired by all the artwork downtown,” says Howell. “This program was held in the Children’s Cabinet, and we contacted them to see if they wanted to do something for us and that’s how it got started.”
Both county and city officials have taken notice.
“Hopefully we will start seeing more projects like this to brighten up the community that we live in,” said Reno City Councilman Oscar Delgado.
The teenagers who have been doing the paining, have a variety of different thoughts about the project.
“It makes me really happy, because we are doing it as a group,” said Narely Hernandez, one of a number of teenagers helping with the painting.
“To turn something old into new is like what I am doing with my life,” said Ronnie Newson of Reno, who is also helping paint. “I had a really bad life growing up, so to give back to the community that I potentially messed up, feels really good.”
At 17, Newson is one of the older people involved in the project, and he wants to convey the life skills he has learned – to the younger kids involved.
“I tell them that what you are doing is really going to affect you later on,” said Newson. “I’m trying to tell you not to go down that road like everyone used to tell me and I didn’t listen.”
This group has also painted a mural on the back of Recycled Records, as well as one at Mountain Music Parlor, and there is a possibility of doing one at the Reno Police Department on Second Street, as they are the ones who funded the project.