The Ypsilanti Community News
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Mural Acts As New Landmark: Thanks To Artwork, Corner Health Center Becomes Easier To Spot
By Jordan Miller ~ The Ann Arbor News
The new mural at the Corner Health Center, which stretches in vivid colors across the side of the building, depicts a diverse group of young people, including a small family, being positively involved in the world.
It is not unlike the mission of the Corner Health Center, a comprehensive medical center for people ages 12 to 21 and their children. The center provides health services, education and support-all on a sliding fee scale if necessary.
“It’s a means to empower the youth and focus on a lot of the strength of the Corner Health Center,” said artist Mary Thiefels, “and highlighting what they’ve done for the community by giving young people the power to become self-actualized; empowering our youth so that they realized their potential as artists, educators, healers, athletes, parents and more importantly, as responsible and noteworthy human beings.”
Money for the Project, which cost approximately $18,000, was raised through a capital campaign launched in January. This was executive director Joan Chesler’s third attempt at getting a mural painted on the building.
“It’s been a dream of mine for years,” Chesler said. “I’m very, very excited because, first of all, I love public art. Secondly, it’ll really enhance the North Huron Street corridor; and it’ll bring attention to the Corner Health Center.
The mural has a practical application, too. According to Chesler; patients often had a difficult time locating the center, which doesn’t have a lot of signage. Now, she said, she can just direct them to the building with the mural.
The title of the piece is “Together We Solve the Puzzle,” and it features “images of family, sportsmanship, creativity, renewable energy, all of these things that we aspire to in a good and decent world,” Thiefels said. “It’s meant to be a kind of spiritually, emotionally and personally uplifting piece that will inspire its viewers.”
Since the Corner Health Center serves a young population, Thiefels said she wanted to incorporate young people into the process and make it an educational model. She approached art teachers at Ypsilanti area highs schools and asked for recommendations of students who would be interested in apprenticing under a professional artist.
Five students worked on the project, meeting with Thiefels weekly for three months. They were involved with the entire process, from design through completion, and also served as model s for the mural.
Travis Barney, a 17-year-old senior at Lincoln High School, was one of the students involved in the project. “I’d never done a mural before,” Barney said. “I really like it. I’d like to do more.”