Community Mural Project with Georges LeChevalier

Artist working with children.This past winter, Artspace was approached by the YMCA and the Southeast Raleigh Promise Project to help beautify the future YMCA Beacon site on Rock Quarry Road. The site will  be the future home of the Southeast Raleigh Y, a Wake County Public School elementary school and many other community services. The goal was to find an artist who could engage the Southeast Raleigh community through a public art project. After reviewing several proposals, the YMCA, Southeast Raleigh Promise, and Artspace selected artist Georges LeChevalier for the project. Annah Lee, our Director of Artistic Programs sat down with Georges to discuss the experience.

 

AL – Tell us a little about your process for the mural.

GL – The mural was created by painting eight 4’x8′ panels that were then installed on site. It was very important that the community be part of the mural process, so I came up with the idea that kids from the community would create drawings that would become part of the mural.

AL – How many kids did you work with.

GL – There were about 100 kids and YMCA volunteers who worked on this project from the YMCA’s Renaissance Camp in Southeast Raleigh. Each kid wrote or drew on a 6″x6″ card what they believe perfect is. These cards were placed inside each letter that spell “You Are Perfect.”

AL – Why the phrase “you are perfect”?

GL – I believe in the power of positive thinking. In these complicated times that we are living in, people are very fast to insult one another, especially on social media. It is very stressful, so maybe this phrase will remind people of the potential that we all have and to be civil to one another.

AL – What were a few of your favorite responses from the kids?

GL – While she was drawing, a young girl looked up at me in a challenging way and told me she was not perfect, that no one is. I responded that she was wrong, that indeed she was perfect, but maybe sometimes she did things that were not perfect. I told her to always remember that, and then her face just got bright with a huge smile.

AL – What do you hope this mural achieves for the southeast raleigh community?

GL – Southeast Raleigh is a neighborhood with lots of history and pride. In the last few years, because of the expansion of downtown Raleigh there have been many changes to the neighborhood. I wanted the local residents to remember they are perfect regardless of what happens. I want this mural to be a mural of hope. The mural also sits by the freeway entrance where there is usually a lot of traffic in the afternoons. Hopefully this message will make the commuters a little less cranky while sitting in traffic. 

Artist painting large panels outside.

Artist Georges LeChevalier working on the mural panels in his backyard.

 

Large outdoor mural with words you are perfect

You Are Perfect Mural

Artist and children stand in front of mural with arms raised

Artist Georges LeChevalier with a few of the children that helped create the You Are Perfect Mural.

About Annah Lee

Annah Lee is the Director of Artistic Programs at Artspace.

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