Street Lab Teens reflect on their summer experience
This past summer for the first time, a new program called Street Lab Teens offered ten New York City youth a chance to work with Street Lab to bring community-oriented programming to neighborhood public spaces across the city. Read on, as two Street Lab Teens share their thoughts about the experience and also some of their street photos. (We added some nice photos of them, too!) Thank you Anaya, Ashly, and all of our 2021 Street Lab Teens, for helping NYC neighborhoods bounce back this summer. We’re excited to see where your futures take you—keep in touch!
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One of my favorite aspects of working with Street Lab was the interaction with different communities and seeing kids and adults connect with each other, which is something that hasn’t been possible due to Covid. During my deployments, I got to work alongside Ashly Lopez where we created murals that were not only creative but also spread a positive message. On West 120th Street in Harlem, Ashly and I drew eco-friendly drawings and statements to bring awareness to Climate Change. We used the circle-making tool to create the outline for an Earth. Underneath the Earth, we wrote the phrase, “System Change Not Climate Change.” Adjacent to the earth we created an interactive activity titled, “Add a Footprint to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint.” During this activity people of all ages—from as little as toddlers to seniors—joined in to participate. I particularly enjoyed this because we got to bring activism to the streets in a friendly way. We also got to introduce the conflict of Climate Change to kids in a way that was still engaging and exciting, which I found really special.
Collaborating with Anaya was amazing. I was able to get to know her well while working with Street Lab. With the space-themed mural we drew on Vanderbilt, there were so many people who came by. Some people even came twice to draw with the chalk. Seeing people add onto the drawing we both drew made me feel good.
Anaya and I were able to get along well while drawing, especially since we had similar ideas. If we didn’t, we tried to combine our ideas. Working with Street Lab, I felt more creative and was able to figure out more of my creative side. By taking photos of different deployments, I was able to catch how people felt when drawing in the streets with chalk, and how not only children joined but how even adults (and animals!) did. This was an amazing experience and I hope the people that joined us had an amazing experience as well.