Prescott kids painting a picture of civic pride at skate park
PRESCOTT - Youth in Prescott are using bright colours and positive messaging to counter ignorance and hate in their own little corner of town at Prescott's Skate Park.
When Robert Haller and his two children Frankie and Maggie, aged 13 and 11, were riding their bikes by the park earlier this month they noticed that some of the imaginative and unique graffiti artwork at the park has been covered with hateful, inappropriate, and angry messaging.
"I was the CAO for the Town of Prescott at the time that the skate park was built. It was built with a lot of volunteer money and a great group of hardworking volunteers. I've seen it in varying levels of use over the years - from very heavy to almost no use. It goes up and down, but it's always been a place for the youth of Prescott. From day one we've encouraged kids to create graffiti art and make the park their own," said Haller, longtime resident and former CAO for the Town of Prescott.
"My kids were very unhappy to see all of the negative messages, especially the racism and ignorance some of the graffiti was projecting. Right away, we decided we wanted to do something about it. We went home and got together a group of local youth and volunteers and everyone was really excited to bring some positivity back to the park," said Haller.
The group shared their idea to revitalize the park with Mayor Brett Todd, who showed immediate support. The Town of Prescott provided the funding for the project, while Beach Home Hardware aided in choosing colours and equipped the group with paint and supplies at a special discount.
A coat of white paint went down first, covering the negative graffiti and creating a fresh canvas for the group and other local youth artists.
"We put down the primer on Tuesday, and when we went back Thursday to start painting, some other artists had already found our blank canvases and had created some awesome work; it was great to see," said Haller.
The group hopes that other local youth will continue to add to the positive messaging and brilliant artwork.
"It's a great facility and we're lucky to have it. It can work as such a great site and outlet for youth art, so we just want to keep it positive. The youth took ownership and civic pride in this project and in their park. They took it upon themselves to make a contribution to their community, to clean up and make our town a more positive place for themselves and other youth and families," said Haller.