Boulevard project shows off murals by Boys & Girls Club kids

Jazmine Videc applied the finishing touches to her whimsical, thought-provoking artwork, a 4-foot by 4-foot depiction of a kneeling girl enveloped in a blue heart.

The painting was one of 20 panels created by Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland members as part of a public art project in the third and final phase of the Opportunity Corridor, which will link I-490 to University Circle. Jazmine said she was excited to show off her work at a public unveiling on Dec. 17.

“They could have chosen anyone to do this and they chose the kids from the Boys & Girls Clubs, she said. “I feel really great about it.”

About 35 kids from four Clubs created the artwork, which is now on display at the intersection of East 55th and I-490. The panels were unveiled following a presentation on the Opportunity Corridor project by the Ohio Department of Transportation and contractor Kokosing Construction. The construction project is designed to improve transportation and economic development as well as create job opportunities in the area known as the “Forgotten Triangle.” More than 85 percent of Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland members live at or below the poverty line, and their families hope the Opportunity Corridor, when completed, will bring new jobs to the community. The three-mile boulevard will provide improved access to and through the communities of Slavic Village, Central, Kinsman, Buckeye-Shaker, and Fairfax.

Teams of Club kids designed each panel using simple, powerful themes such as hope, jobs, opportunity, home and community. Then, using paint and supplies from the contractor, they painted murals. The panels were installed by Kokosing a few days later along East 55th Street.

Each day, about 1,000 kids ages 6-18 go to Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland after school. Clubs provide a safe, fun place for kids with caring adult mentors, homework help, athletics, arts, music and a hot daily meal. There are now 13 clubs in Cleveland and East Cleveland.