It wasn’t a dream. It was a place. // December 2019

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YMCA Oz // Clairemont

Mural Artist: Isabel Halpern

photos coming soon…

YMCA Oz is a special space that provides healing and unification to youth and their families through a residential program. This program helps teens and their families who are experiencing personal, school or family difficulties as well as runaway or homeless youth seeking a safe place. Part of their enrichment includes art making.

Youth and staff from YMCA Oz came up with various themes and imagery of what Oz meant to them: waves, poppies, helping hands, home, water ripples, and asleep vs. awake. All can be found in their new 109-foot long mural that stretches the whole backyard. Led by Isabel Halpern of ArtReach, the youth not only helped with the design; they also primed the wall and spent many hours painting every last inch of it. Over 60 people worked on this mural including additional staff volunteers from YMCA Youth and Family Services. A true collaborative effort. Rich colors, calming shapes, and intentional symbols make up the flow of the mural. The greens throughout were chosen to represent Emerald City and to double as the designated mental health awareness color. From one side of the wall to the other, one can see many repeating water ripples, 100 exactly. Each water ripple represents 100 people making a total of 10,000 people. YMCA Oz, approaching their 50th anniversary soon, has impacted 10,000 people over the last 50 years. The ArtReach Mural Program is honored to show this ripple effect and to have created alongside youth and staff from Oz, bringing their ideas and visions onto the wall.