“I’m drawing a rainbow.”
“This is a heart!”
“Here’s a policeman making sure everyone is safe.”
These are all conversations captured in a bustling art room filled with kids crafting artwork intended to spread hope and positivity across metro Atlanta. Their drawings are featured in a series of colorful chalkboard exhibitions along the Atlanta Beltline, a thriving connecting point on the city’s southeast side that draws thousands of visitors each week.
Joshua S., a member of the Centers of Hope at Thomasville Club, hopes his picture of a professional basketball player will inspire his peers to dream big. A child of many talents, Joshua aspires to make it to the big court one day.
“I envision it, sketch it, and then draw the picture,” Joshua said.
The 11-year-old says making good choices and giving back are vital to the future success of both him and his community. These are principles he learned at his Club.
It’s an important message as the Thomasville community is traditionally known for its high rates in crime.
“While some parts of southeast Atlanta are turning around with the expansion of college campuses and
major developments, other areas remain challenged and report recurring incidents of crime,” said Elizabeth Espy, spokeswoman for the Atlanta Police Department.
More than 50 crimes – including robbery, homicide, burglary and aggravated assault – were reported in Thomasville this summer.
“We spend a lot of time and resources fighting crime in that area,” said APD Sgt. Warren Pickard. “For instance, we’ve seen an increase in homicide cases this year; there have been 31 this year and 15 cases were reported around the same time last year.”
Many believe the kids in this community don’t have the role models or resources they deserve.
So, this project encouraged kids at the Thomasville Club to think about community and leadership and challenged them to come up with ways they can be part of the change they’d like to see.
The exhibition, on display through early November, is part of BGCMA’s partnership with UP TV. The Atlanta-based network aims to offer programming designed to not only entertain, but uplift its audiences. With help from kids and teens at three local Clubs, UP TV is taking its message to the streets. Everyone passing through the Beltline – including bikers, walkers, and runners – are encouraged to visit the exhibit and write their own message of hope.
“Art is a powerful source of inspiration for many of our Club kids. We hope people of all ages will take part in this exhibit. You never know how your special message may brighten up someone’s day,” said Rebecca DesMarais, director of arts & enrichment programs at BGCMA.
Share your message and help our kids #UPliftSomeone today! You can check out our art displays at the following three locations:
- Near the Fourth Ward Skate Park, 830 Willoughby Way, NE, Atlanta 30312
- Across from Two Urban Licks restaurant, 820 Ralph McGill Boulevard, NE, Atlanta 30306
- Off Westminister Road behind Atlanta Botanical Gardens. Botanical Gardens is located at 1345 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30309
If you’d like to give back and help shape young leaders, we are always looking for additional support. Visit https://www.bgcma.org/get-involved/ for details on the many ways that you can get involved today.