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“Together We Solve the Puzzle”

Unveiled and dedicated September, 2008

The purpose of The Corner Health Center Student Painted Mural Project was to provide a capstone learning experience to 5 aspiring young artists from Ypsilanti, Michigan High Schools, to increase the visibility of The Corner Health Center (CHC) in its downtown Ypsilanti location, to create an inspirational piece of public art in an economically depressed area and to kick off the public phase of The Corner’s $1.5M Capital Campaign.

The first step was to put together the artistic team.  The Ypsilanti area art teachers were contacted and asked for recommendations within their departments. The idea was to extend this opportunity to students heading into an arts related career. The students selected were: Chelsey and Travis from Lincoln High School, Jesse, Terrance, and Devon from Ypsilanti High School. Once the team was put together we decided on a weekly meeting time.  Meeting every Thursday from February 2008 to July 2008 this team of artists assisted in designing, material selection, budgeting, implementing, and painting, the 8x 48-paneled mural.

The mural was created off site, across the street from the CHC, in a studio space given to us by the Riverside Arts Center, located in Ypsilanti.  The funds for the project were raised through a capital campaign launched by the CHC in January 2008.  This was the Center’s third attempt at getting a mural painted on the building.  “It has been a dream of mine for years,” Joan Chesler, executive director said, “I am very, very excited!”

We designed this mural as a means to empower the youth so they may realize their potential as artists, educators, healers, athletes, parents, and more importantly, as responsible and noteworthy human beings.  We also focused on the strengths of the Corner Health Center, by highlighting what they’ve done for the community and how they have given young people the power to become self-actualized.

We used the symbol of the puzzle piece to illustrate the point that we all have something to contribute to the betterment of our world. The diverse groups of individuals, responding to their puzzle pieces, represent today’s youth.  Each figure is interacting with or discovering that they too have a puzzle piece and therefore something to give or offer.

We show you a cross section of the earth with an incomplete puzzle stretching from end to end, flanked by the images of the sun setting and the full moon rising.  The sun and moon references symbolize the natural balance of the earth and universe.  While the images in the puzzle, including, athleticism, creativity, family, parenting, health care, gardening, renewable energy, and world aid reflect the goals and aspirations of young adults.  The idea is that together we solve the puzzle.

Being able to share this experience with these teens was most rewarding. I was able to create an education model through this program, one that united students from local areas across neighborhoods.  Making them an integral part in this project was like passing on the torch; by showing them how to utilize the arts in making a difference within their communities for years to come. Together, we proved, we do solve the puzzle.

Special thanks:

To the Corner Health Center Board of Directors, Donors, Staff, and clients for this amazing opportunity to paint “Together We Solve the Puzzle”.  To the Riverside Arts Center for the wonderful studio space.  To our families for the constant support and encouragement to follow our dreams as artists. Last but not least, to my teens, congratulations on a job well done, what creative and lively group of individuals you all are, full of enumerable amounts of potential- you rock!

We dedicated this mural on September 23rd, 2008, to the community of Ypsilanti, may it be a source of inspiration and pride for years to come.

About the Corner Health Center:

The Corner Health Center in downtown Ypsilanti is Michigan’s oldest, largest and most comprehensive teen health center.  Since 1981, The Corner has provided medical care, health education, and other essential support services to more than 18,000 young people ages 12-21 and their children, regardless of their ability to pay.

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