Made possible by a Make More Happen Grant from the Danville Regional Foundation, the Cedar Terrace community will enjoy new community seating and public art this coming Spring. Cedar Terrace is located on the northern edge of Westmoreland along Memorial Drive. The resident association chose three (3) residents to design the artwork under the guidance of local artist, Billie Jean Jones. These young ladies also happen to be leaders among the community’s youth.
Rasheeda “Che Che” Valentine, Moneisha Canada, and Miya Anderson along with the help of other young residents of Cedar Terrace are working to provide safe and fun activities for kids through their organization, Project Youth. After years of watching outside groups come to their neighborhood to clean up and host community events, they asked themselves, “Why can’t we do this for our own kids?” They recognized a gap in opportunities available for school-aged children in their community, and wanted to be able to provide activities such as field trips, community play days, and picnics as well as events such as senior days and neighborhood clean ups.
The public art effort will be Project Youth’s first major project. It consists of two murals – one for the wall and one for the street and a new community seating area. For the murals, the women worked together to imagine the design, and Che Che used her artistic ability to turn their vision into a drawing. She described the design for the street mural as “a tree of knowledge” including inspirational words and pictures representing the activities that kids enjoy such as art, music, and reading. It is currently being manufactured in weather-resistant thermoplastic and will be installed this upcoming Spring.
The wall mural, which reads “Teamwork Makes the Dream Work” will be painted with the help of resident youth at the same time as the street mural installation. The work will culminate with a neighborhood celebration planned by Project Youth.
The young leaders of Project Youth hope that the murals will bring attention to their work and additional support for their group moving forward. They hosted a successful hot dog sale fundraiser in July and have distributed informational fliers to community members, but they are seeking more formal support and partnerships so that they can implement their ideas. While they plan to focus on Cedar Terrace initially, they hope to eventually expand their group to serve youth throughout all of Westmoreland and the rest of the city.