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Students with the district's Wraparound Program are painting a 150-foot mural to give voice to marginalized groups and promote a sense of community in Surrey. (photo by Gurjot Singh)
Ten Surrey Schools students will be painting a 150-foot mural near the King George SkyTrain Station to showcase positivity and racial inclusivity in the city.
The project is in partnership with the Wraparound Program, First Nations Policing, Ledcor and local artist Chris Perez, providing young artists an opportunity to display their talent and messaging to passers-by to promote a sense of community
"We want to give our students a chance to feel that sense of belonging to their school or community, while exploring their strengths and interests," said Surrey Schools social worker Jon Ross. "We picked youth that have an interest in art, that were needing a little more structure and opportunity in their summer, and were just keen to be a part of something that's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
The mural will pay homage to the Semiahmoo, Katzie and Kwantlen First Nations, using colours from the medicine wheel and under the leadership of Const. Troy Derrick of the Gitxsan First Nation.
"It's this synergy of positive expression in a time when we're trying to recognize systemic barriers of discrimination towards Indigenous peoples, the Black community and people of colour," said Ross. "Most of these youth have experienced that in different ways, so this is a positive outlet to give their voice some kind of permanence and to feel like they've been heard and they belong."
The mural will be made up of pieces of plywood against a chain link fence spanning 150 feet, bordering a 38-floor condo development at the King George SkyTrain walk up, at Whalley Ring Road and 98th Avenue.
This project is an initiative of the Surrey Wraparound Program (WRAP). WRAP is a partnership between the Surrey School District, RCMP and the City of Surrey. The program's objective is to positively attach youth to school, their community and the home by building a trusting and positive relationship. Parents, caregivers and/or guardians are included in goal setting while assisting the program's objective in building a positive lifestyle and self-worth for youth.