Participants in a Youth Organization Umbrella art group have just finished a graffiti-art mural project at the new C&W Market and ice cream parlor at Church and Dodge in Evanston.

Y.O.U. King Arts Site Coordinator Hussein Ally says Ana Ariza and Dionne Wilson showed a lot of potential during last summer’s Urban Elements program.

“They excelled in their projects,” Ally said. “This showed me that they could handle a project with real clients and real expectations.”

The two middle school students, Ally said, “were able to take a look into how art and creativity can turn into a profession. This showed them that being an artist can be a real career possibility.”

C&W owner Clarence D. Weaver Sr. says, “We wanted to partner with Y.O.U. because we saw this as an opportunity for participation from youth that was also a good way to support the organization.”

For Ariza and Wilson, the best part was getting to work with their hands and spray paint a piece for the community.

“It feels awesome just knowing that so many people are going to see our mural and are going to acknowledge that we did something great,” Ariza said.

Weaver, the store owner, added, “We wanted something that felt fresh and showcased that we have products for youth as well as adults. The mural became a complement of our mission and our motto. People walk by and give us a thumbs up and come in and complement the art. The ink is still wet but this is already proving to be a conversation piece.”

Y.O.U. is planning to build a new headquarters just down the block from the market, and Weaver said he looks forward to future collaborations between the business and the young people. “I’m extremely excited. I think the mural represents that we want to have a long term relationship with Y.O.U. We like their mission, we like their mentorship and we like the impact it’s having on the youth of our community.”

Plans for the new Y.O.U. headquarters at 1919 Church St. are to be discussed at the 5th Ward meeting Thursday night at 7 p.m. at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center.

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