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Teen taste in footwear focus of downtown mural in Amherst

  • Katie Russavage, left, of Amherst, and Katie Richardson, who is the program coordinator for Youth Action Coalition, paint a mural Tuesday during a meeting of YAC's Get Up Get Down group at East Street School in Amherst.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Katie Russavage, left, of Amherst, and Katie Richardson, who is the program coordinator for Youth Action Coalition, paint a mural Tuesday during a meeting of YAC's Get Up Get Down group at East Street School in Amherst.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Katie Russavage of Amherst, who is a member of the Youth Action Coalition Get Up Get Down group, works on a panel of the mural that will be erected at a tiny downtown park during a community paint day at East Street School in Amherst.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Katie Russavage of Amherst, who is a member of the Youth Action Coalition Get Up Get Down group, works on a panel of the mural that will be erected at a tiny downtown park during a community paint day at East Street School in Amherst.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Sarah Wennemyr, of Amherst, left, paints a mural Tuesday during a meeting of Youth Action Coalition's Get Up Get Down at East Street School in Amherst. In the background, Allison Scott, a program liason for Youth Action Coalition and an Americorps member, left, talks with Marti Wiechman, center, of Amherst, and Weichman's daughter, Kal Treloar, a student at North Star.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Sarah Wennemyr, of Amherst, left, paints a mural Tuesday during a meeting of Youth Action Coalition's Get Up Get Down at East Street School in Amherst. In the background, Allison Scott, a program liason for Youth Action Coalition and an Americorps member, left, talks with Marti Wiechman, center, of Amherst, and Weichman's daughter, Kal Treloar, a student at North Star.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Sarah Wennemyr, of Amherst, from left, Katie Richardson, who is the program coordinator of Youth Action Coalition, Kal Treloar, and her mother, Marti Wiechman, of Amherst, paint a mural Tuesday during a community paint day with members of YAC's Get Up Get Down group at East Street School.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Sarah Wennemyr, of Amherst, from left, Katie Richardson, who is the program coordinator of Youth Action Coalition, Kal Treloar, and her mother, Marti Wiechman, of Amherst, paint a mural Tuesday during a community paint day with members of YAC's Get Up Get Down group at East Street School.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Silas Pilapil, of Pelham, and Stacey Lennard, who is the director of Youth Action Coalition, paint a mural Tuesday during a community paint day at East Street School in Amherst. Members of YAC's Get Up Get Down group invited the public to help paint.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Silas Pilapil, of Pelham, and Stacey Lennard, who is the director of Youth Action Coalition, paint a mural Tuesday during a community paint day at East Street School in Amherst. Members of YAC's Get Up Get Down group invited the public to help paint.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Katie Richardson, right, who is the program coordinator of Youth Action Coalition, talks with Tabitha Klamm, of Amherst, before painting a mural Tuesday at East Street School in Amherst.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Katie Richardson, right, who is the program coordinator of Youth Action Coalition, talks with Tabitha Klamm, of Amherst, before painting a mural Tuesday at East Street School in Amherst.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Tabitha Klamm, of Amherst, who is a member of Get Up Get Down, paints a mural during a community paint day Tuesday at East Street School in Amherst. <br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Tabitha Klamm, of Amherst, who is a member of Get Up Get Down, paints a mural during a community paint day Tuesday at East Street School in Amherst.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Katie Russavage, of Amherst, who is a member of the Youth Action Coalition Get Up Get Down group, paints a mural during a community paint day Tuesday at East Street School in Amherst.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Katie Russavage, of Amherst, who is a member of the Youth Action Coalition Get Up Get Down group, paints a mural during a community paint day Tuesday at East Street School in Amherst.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Danielle Martin, of Leverett, left, and Katherine Armentano, of Amherst, mix paint Tuesday at East Street School in Amherst. They are members of Youth Action Coalition's Get Up Get Down group, who are painting a mural.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Danielle Martin, of Leverett, left, and Katherine Armentano, of Amherst, mix paint Tuesday at East Street School in Amherst. They are members of Youth Action Coalition's Get Up Get Down group, who are painting a mural.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Katie Russavage, left, of Amherst, and Katie Richardson, who is the program coordinator for Youth Action Coalition, paint a mural Tuesday during a meeting of YAC's Get Up Get Down group at East Street School in Amherst.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Katie Russavage of Amherst, who is a member of the Youth Action Coalition Get Up Get Down group, works on a panel of the mural that will be erected at a tiny downtown park during a community paint day at East Street School in Amherst.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Sarah Wennemyr, of Amherst, left, paints a mural Tuesday during a meeting of Youth Action Coalition's Get Up Get Down at East Street School in Amherst. In the background, Allison Scott, a program liason for Youth Action Coalition and an Americorps member, left, talks with Marti Wiechman, center, of Amherst, and Weichman's daughter, Kal Treloar, a student at North Star.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Sarah Wennemyr, of Amherst, from left, Katie Richardson, who is the program coordinator of Youth Action Coalition, Kal Treloar, and her mother, Marti Wiechman, of Amherst, paint a mural Tuesday during a community paint day with members of YAC's Get Up Get Down group at East Street School.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Silas Pilapil, of Pelham, and Stacey Lennard, who is the director of Youth Action Coalition, paint a mural Tuesday during a community paint day at East Street School in Amherst. Members of YAC's Get Up Get Down group invited the public to help paint.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Katie Richardson, right, who is the program coordinator of Youth Action Coalition, talks with Tabitha Klamm, of Amherst, before painting a mural Tuesday at East Street School in Amherst.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Tabitha Klamm, of Amherst, who is a member of Get Up Get Down, paints a mural during a community paint day Tuesday at East Street School in Amherst. <br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Katie Russavage, of Amherst, who is a member of the Youth Action Coalition Get Up Get Down group, paints a mural during a community paint day Tuesday at East Street School in Amherst.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Danielle Martin, of Leverett, left, and Katherine Armentano, of Amherst, mix paint Tuesday at East Street School in Amherst. They are members of Youth Action Coalition's Get Up Get Down group, who are painting a mural.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

“You can recognize my Vans shoes from a mile away,” says Tabitha Klamm, 17, of Amherst.

And soon her Vans, with brightly colored laces, along with her other favorite pair of what she calls hipster shoes, will be represented on a mural to be unveiled in downtown Amherst next month.

The 40-by-5-foot piece is being done by participants in the Youth Action Coalition’s Get Up Get Down program. They will attach it to the red fence located between Rao’s Roastery and Panda East restaurant. Called “Keep Walking Forward,” the artwork will give people lounging on the benches in the tiny park something to look at rather than the graffiti that now dots the fence.

“This will add a little more character to that spot,” said Silas Pilapil, 18, of Pelham. “It’s definitely an interesting project. Very pop art.”

Klamm said so many teens focus on shoes and brands, such as Nike and Ugg, that they have become a social symbol.

Josh Rose, 16, of Leverett, said he sees the mural as a logical way to showcase how young people express themselves through their footwear.

“It’s a euphemism for differences in society,” Rose said.

The mural will be adorned with related quotes including W.B Yeat’s “Tread softly because you tread on my dreams” and “walk a mile in my shoes.”

While it won’t be publicly unveiled until the Amherst ArtWalk June 6, a community paint day was held at the East Street School last week in which more than a dozen students worked on the panels. Many, like Klamm and Pilapil, got on the floor and applied the paint, while others, like Katherine Armentano, 18, of Amherst, and Danielle Martin, 16, of Leverett, mixed the 22 colors they are using.

Stacey Lennard, executive director of Youth Action Coalition, said Bob Lowry, who runs Rao’s, and Barry Roberts, who owns the nearby 103 Shops building that houses Panda East and Bart’s, approached her about the group doing another mural. It has done two downtown in the past, one on the side of Food for Thought Books and the other on the brick wall of the Amherst Cinema.

The work is coordinated by Katie Richardson, who oversees the Get Up Get Down program. Richardson said she brainstormed with the students and tried to get the teens to paint a cross section of the types of shoes and sneakers youth wear.

The artists downloaded the images from the Internet and then, with a projector, traced the various styles onto durable cloth and are applying multiple coats of acrylic paint.

A clear coat of finish will complete the mural and then it will be ready for the fence.

The ArtWalk, which is also doubling as the Youth Action Coalition’s spring block party at the park next to Rao’s, will also feature a display of both color black-and-white photographs of nature and other objects by participants in the coalition’s GirlsEyeView program, from both Amherst and Ware. This exhibit started May 22 at Rao’s. The block party also features a series of short films by Video Vanguards, another program of the coalition, in the Glass Room at the Bangs Community Center, as well as a performance by the Amherst High Jazz Ensemble at the park.

Festivities begin at 5 p.m. with the mural’s first showing at 6:30 p.m.

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