Related Story

COLUMBIA - A new mural will be going up along the MKT trail in Columbia in July. 

The Career Awareness Related Experience (CARE) program is an employment program for teens in Columbia.

"We hire aspiring teen artists to get paid to make art, to learn new skills," Jamila Batchelder, CARE staff member said.

The teen artists will be painting a mural under the bridge at Flat Branch park. 

"Columbia Parks and Recreation has been dealing with a lot of graffiti issues and was trying to come up with a creative solution for dealing with graffiti," Batchelder said. They researched it they came across the idea of creating a public mural as way to combat graffiti. Graffiti artists tend to respect public art."

"I can see it in my head," she said.  "A corridor of beautiful art that speaks to who we are as a community."

This mural will be the first of eight. The rest of the murals will be painted during upcoming summers. 

The mural will have Columbia locals painted on it and will say "you are the seed, Columbia is the soil, let our challenges inspire us to grow."

"We didn't want to whitewash everything and pretend that everything is perfect," Batchelder said. "We think that what makes Columbia an amazing community is our ability to face our challenges and grow from them."

Syndney Gilberth, CARE program member, said she was excited to start painting the mural and was happy to share the meaning of it with the Columbia community.

"It's not the fact that we don't have problems," she said. "We definitely do, and there are real problems that are bigger than ourselves, but its says more about us how we react to our problems and how we are able to work through them."

Gilberth said this mural is going to symbolize unity in Columbia. 

The public unveiling will take place August 2.