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Saturday April 1st 2023

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That's what she said

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Kids Artwalk Boulder


The North Boulder Recreation Center’s walls are covered with outrageous displays of color and creativity.  The Youth Services Initiative, led by Alex Zinga through Boulder’s Parks and Recreation Department, is putting on an art show and the rec center’s walls are the gallery.  The YSI program serves the after school needs of children living in public housing.  Local artist Paula Kehoe worked with YSI as part of a grant she received from the Boulder Arts Commission for 2011 Kids Artwalk Boulder.  In an interview, Kehoe said that the kids learn about social causes such as recycling and the Birds of Prey Foundation through the art projects, though social issues aren’t the primary focus of the program.  “The kids are really artistic,” said Kehoe, “but they don’t have a lot of extracurricular activities,” so this program is important to them.

This is the second year for Kehoe’s collaboration with Zinga.  Kehoe develops the vision and helps the kids execute that vision while  Zinga and the YSI’s counselors provide staff time, materials and work space.  Kehoe builds display structures that arrange and highlight the individual pieces into stunningly beautiful exhibits.  Potential buyers have inquired about purchasing the art pieces but right now there is no system to make that happen.

According to Kehoe, Zinga is the heart and soul of the YSI program.  “She does amazing things with the kids, she’s the driver of the whole program.”  In fact, Kehoe first met Zinga when she noticed her with a bunch of kids at the rec center pool.  Kehoe approached her, brought up the subject of kids’ art projects and a successful and rewarding collaboration began.

It may be a program for the kids but these exuberant, authentic expressions of talent, hope and potential will make your day if you go see them.  The show will move to the East Boulder Rec Center at the end of the month.   Eventually, the individual pieces will be returned to the kids.

As far as next year goes, Kehoe says that she will have to find funding again and she hopes to get another grant.

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