Mary has worked as the Visual Arts Coordinator for the Neutral Zone Teen Center for almost two years. In that time she has partnered with the Neutral Zone to provide mentorship to youth, community engagement, and educational outreach.
As an example, youth are actively working towards developing their own unique artistic practices by engaging in community public arts. In partnership with the Neutral Zone’s summer camp offerings and a summer internship program funded by Ann Arbor’s Downtown Development Authority, many public murals have been erected by local teens. The teens are taking leadership roles to oversee the whole mural process including: site scouting, design preparation, budgeting, wall and material prep, and documentation.
About the Neutral Zone
The mission statement of the center was written by youth and continues to be the voice and heart which drives the center’s creative program and opportunities.
The Neutral Zone is a diverse, youth-driven teen center dedicated to promoting personal growth through artistic expression, community leadership and the exchange of ideas.
A brief history
In 1998, a group of Ann Arbor teens gathered to discuss the need for a place where teens could congregate after school and on weekends. From the very beginning, they felt this place should be more than just a hangout; that is could be a safe place to make new friends, mix with youth from different backgrounds, explore new ideas, learn new skills and do it all in a setting that was teen friendly and teen driven. Teens wrote the mission statement and the first grant proposal to the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation and, with seed money in hand, enlisted parents and friends to turn an old brick and timber warehouse into a teen center.