The young patrons of the TRI Community and Youth Agency have joined the expanding palette of supporters of Huntington Station's makeover, helping create a mural reflecting the hamlet's diversity.
The youth, who range in age from 5 to 17, spent several weeks this winter painting the 9-foot by 25-foot mural, which, weather permitting, is to be affixed Sunday to an outside wall of the Huntington Station Enrichment Center at 1264 New York Avenue.
"It's going to look beautiful," Aylana Powell, 9, said. "I was really happy to help."
The Enrichment Center, which for years served as an educational and recreational sanctuary for area students, has been repurposed as a resource center to offer a variety of employment and training services.
The mural has six panels that depict a variety of trades, cultures, interactions, cooperations and friendships. It reflects the new purpose of the building, said town board member Tracey Edwards, who spearheaded the idea of the mural.
"The pictures depicted in the mural are of people with job opportunities and job training," she said. "It's what we want for that location; it brings the vision to life."
The mural shows people working in different capacities in the same "space" and "level of importance," building the community together, said Lucienne Pereira, the Centerport-based artist who created the piece.
"We have not used real skin colors or face details," Pereira said. "The silhouettes are there to represent anyone, everyone who identifies with it."
To represent cultural diversity, the mural contains designs and patterns from a variety of nationalities and cultures in Huntington -- the United States, Ireland, Middle East, India, the Caribbean and Africa.
"The background is like a map," Pereira said. "Implicitly, this map represents the cultural diversity of the community."
Pereira started in March setting up the outline of the mural in Tri CYA locations in the Big H shopping center and at 310 West Hills Rd. Pereira then invited youths from the program to help paint the mural, in an effort to engage and challenge them.
"I want them to feel pride," Pereira said of the painters. "They will always remember they contributed to something that is part of the fabric of their community. They did it."
For Nazier Grant, 7, participating in the project sparked a budding interest in art. "I loved helping," Nazier said. "I did art in school, but this was more fun."
Ni'Tiera McGee, 9, said she looked forward each day to coming to paint the mural. "It was always a lot of fun to come and be with my friends and help," she said.
The mural will be affixed to the Enrichment Center's north-facing wall on East Second Street. It will be treated with a special coating to guard against weather and graffiti.
The mural is a collaboration between the community, and arts, nonprofit and government sectors. It cost about $3,500.