For the past four summers, YouthZone has received a generous Embrey Family Foundation grant to create incredible works of art for our communities to share in for years to come.

"The Embrey Family Foundation has been pleased to support YouthZone's mural projects," said Gayle Embrey, Vice President of the Board of the Embrey Family Foundation. "The themes of their murals are well thought out, and the imagery communicates the stories they wish to tell."

Gayle thinks teens are a great asset to our community and wanted to make sure they are paid for their work. "It has been gratifying to see how these young people have remained committed and hardworking throughout their time on the projects," added Gayle. "It's been a pleasure to collaborate with YouthZone to make these mural projects happen."

This summer, teens are working with Glenwood Springs artist Vallee Noone. The backdrop will be the entryway to the new YouthZone building in Glenwood Springs. Vallee said the teens she is working with this year are amazing. They are dedicated and creative, and they came without an ego. "It's been really neat to see them evolve artistically," she said.

This year's theme is mental health. The artists are using two panels to express the positive and negative influences of mental health and a third panel to tie the two together. The third panel shows a young girl being led from the darker side to a side of growth and healing using imagery of fire and water, lush forests, and Mother Earth cradling the planet.

With the support of the Bookcliffs Art Center, talented teens created murals in Rifle in previous summers. In the first summer, the teen artists painted a compelling mural at the Corner of 6 & 24 and Railroad.  It can be viewed right in front of the Kum ‘n Go as you enter downtown Rifle.

The mural, titled “Back in My Day”, explores the issues of generational gaps and the misunderstanding that can exist. The mural focused on the five living generations, their accomplishments, and the struggles each have endured. When we recognize that every generation has worked to improve the world, it becomes clear that our similarities outweigh our differences.

The mural served to continue our connections, regardless of age. The sphere of each generation represents the very different time periods each generation has grown up in. A piece of imagery that connects each world/generation, helps to show that we should come together and that each generation has had an effect on the next.

The second mural created during this incredible collaboration with the Embrey Family Foundation and Bookcliffs Art Center is located near the 16th street underpass in Rifle, near the skate park.  Titled “Beyond the Screen,” this piece addresses technology and how it affects our lives.

2019 YouthZone Mural

The 2019 YouthZone Mural Project is based in Glenwood Springs. These teens are working with local artist Vallee Noone to recreate the entryway to YouthZone's new home in Glenwood Springs. Join us for the Mural Reveal on Aug. 1 at 5 p.m.

Teen artist Maryann Carrillo said the general theme for this year's mural is around mental health. The transition piece between the positive and negative images includes a girl being led from a forest fire to a healthy forest. Maryann said it is to symbolize that you can get from a dark place to a brighter side but you can't do it by yourself.

The art pieces show the positive side in images surrounded by blue that include pictures of a gay family, women's rights and someone defending a person being bullied. On the negative side, flames and smoke surround images of a pride flag being burned, a congressman defacing a woman, and pictures of bullying.

Martha Nila said that while working on the project, they have learned about animal abuse, the environment, pollution, and gender rights.

Kyra Juerett has worked on all four mural projects. She likes that you can have more than one topic in a piece of art. Ruby Maurer said the mural is an evolving project that gets better as they add new elements.

Back in My Day – YouthZone Art Mural 2017