7/15/2008 10:07:00 AM Tuba City youth contribute to mural project
An student with the Tuba City Boys and Girls Club of the Diné Nation smiles as he proudly holds up his paintbrush as he helped to complete a mural painted on the side of the Tuba City Community Center. The mural was part of an art-based youth exchange project.
A side-angle view of the new mural on the Tuba City Community Center.
Submitted by Josette Bonafino Special to the Observer
TUBA CITY, Ariz. - Four teaching artists and one student from the Multicultural Youth eXchange (MYX), a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that uses the arts to explore diverse cultures, recently spent two weeks in Tuba City painting a 125-foot-long x 15-foot-high mural on the side of the Tuba City Community Center with help from the Boys and Girls Club of the Dine Nation.
The mural project was part of MYX's Art of Community Service program which pairs Philadelphia high school students with youth from diverse and developing communities so that both groups form friendships by collaborating on an art-based, community-service project. Now in its fourth year, other ACS projects have previously taken place in Costa Rica and Ecuador.
"Art is a great way to connect kids from different cultures because it transcends language and cultural barriers," said Josette Bonafino, Executive Director of MYX.
Bonafino, who designed the Tuba City mural, said much of the artwork represents the individual and cultural identity of the participating students.
"The boys and girls painted a lot of Navajo symbols like the Four Sacred Mountains and hogans, but there is also a lot of personal imagery, including symbols of family and sports, that represents the kids as individual people," she said.
While in Tuba City, MYX visited the Explore Navajo Interactive Museum, drove to Monument Valley and the Painted Desert, saw the dinosaur tracks and toured the Hopi Mesas. Fifteen-year-old visiting student, C.J. Rettberg, was also invited to a sweat lodge and even received a Navajo name during a private initiation ceremony held by local Navajo teens.
"I think it's fascinating for East Coast students to see just how culturally diverse America is," said Bonafino. "For us Philadelphians, visiting the Nation is really like visiting another country. If the community wants us to come back, we'll gladly come and do another project."
MYX: Multicultural Youth eXchange is a Philadelphia-based, nonprofit organization that works to increase tolerance among young people worldwide by using art-based projects to explore diverse cultures and social issues relevant to all youth.
MYX was founded in direct response to the tragedies of Sept. 11, 2001. It is our belief that culturally sensitive youth are the hope for a future society free of intolerance.
Posted: Sunday, October 4, 2009
Article comment by:
Hello, just wanted to ask if you were able to shine some light on my daughter... she is the 'new', "Lil' Miss Warrior Princess" for the Tuba City Primary School. Her name is Dakota Rayne Shaw, she is six years old and is in the first grade at TCPS. Her parents are Nathan Jensen and Robyn Shorty, her maternal grandparents are Robert and Martha Shorty Jr. and her paternal grandparents are Albert and Suzie Bancroft. Her clans are Kinyaanii born for Tachiinii, her cheii's are Natoh' Dine' Tachiinii's, and her naali's are Tsinaaginii's. She is from Tuba City, AZ. She also has three younger brothers, Tyler Natoni Jensen (he is in kindergarten at TCPS), Keyon Dine' Jensen (Keyon has a slash above the 'O'), and Jesse Tachiinii Jensen. If you could include her in your paper, that would be awesome, she is representing her school, fellow classmates, and the community of Tuba City. Thank you so much. If there are any questions or anything else regarding this request, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, thanks again.... Robyn Shorty.