River Wall Mural | Artists Celebration

People gathering at the "Our Freedom Story" mural near the RiverLoop Amphitheatre at the Waterloo Center for the Arts

Four hundred people made their way to Waterloo’s RiverLoop Amphitheatre to celebrate the 150 young artists who created the new 3,000+ square foot mural along the Cedar River at the Waterloo Center for the Arts. We appreciate everyone who took the time to come out and experience the “Our Freedom Story” mural! It was beautiful.

“Your community supports you, believes in you, and believes that you are brilliant.”

– Heidi Fuchtman, Youth Art Team Director

People at the celebration asked us to share a few things. We’ll compile them for you here!

Before you read on, will you help us? One of our favorite things about Youth Art Team is getting to share community feedback with the artists. This project took thousands of hours from start to finish. Will you take a few minutes to answer a couple of questions for us?

And now…

What is this project?
This slideshow takes you through the research, learning, and brainstorming process to the moment before mural painting began…

The mural is so cool. Can you help me understand it?
Get a glimpse into the creative minds of the 150 collaborating young artists to understand the ideas behind the art…

Is Youth Art Team a part of the city? The schools? The art centers?

Youth Art Team is an organization that must raise its own funding in order to work with our cities, schools, and art centers to make community-based, public art projects like this possible. And we LOVE to work with them. They are amazing partners who believe in young artists and open doors for them to share their creative voices with our communities.

The “Our Freedom Story” mural project did not receive full funding! But we knew it was too important and had to finish. Now that you’ve seen its impact, we hope that you will help Youth Art Team reach its funding needs to continue this momentum into the next project. Our website makes it easy to make a one-time donation or set up monthly contributions. Your entire donation is tax-deductible. Help us make sure that the Youth Art Team moves into its next project with courage and strength!

The River Wall Mural is one of three Mural Year projects that the Youth Art Team has accomplished in 2018-2019. The Youth Art Team Mural Year project is supported, in part, by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural A airs, the National Endowment for the Arts. A Teen Trust grant, awarded to Friends of the Art Center, provided funds that assisted with River Wall Mural paint costs.

The Guernsey Charitable Foundation and R. J. McElroy Trust provided operating support that helped make this project and other Youth Art Team initiatives possible in 2019.

Will you help me keep up with “Our Freedom Story” media coverage?
Yes! We posted links below and we’ll post new links as additional pieces are published.

Ahmad Madlock (grade 9), Imagination Coalition and Youth Art Team youth board member being interviewed by KCRG before the celebration. (The “Our Town” series airs in mid-June! We’ll post a link here when it does.)

Can you share more about the song?
Yes! We posted a link to the lyrics and the song itself below.

Lowell artists (grade 3) recording in The Studio!
Listen! Recorded at The Studio with Lyrikal TMG.

Read the lyrics written by Lowell & Kingsley third graders during music class with Dr. Meacham (Hip Hop Literacy) and music teachers Ms. Mennenga (Lowell) and Mr. Babneau (Kingsley).

The live performance recorded by Youth Art Team Lead Team artist! Isaac and Oliver Yoder joined us from the Northern Iowa Youth Orchestra under the direction of John Chiles. Choreography learned in gym class with Mandy Masmar (University of Northern Iowa, Physical Education dance program) and gym teachers Mr. Guetzlaff (Lowell) and Ms. Velthoff (Kingsley).

This project was huge! Impossible to capture it all here. If there’s something else you’d like to know or see, let us know.