New youth-involved mural to debut this week in West Long Beach

After a rough year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Boys & Girls Club of Long Beach hopes to lift the spirits of local youth with a vibrant new mural debuting Thursday at the Freeman E. Fairfield/Westside Center in West Long Beach.

The mural site, located between Admiral Kidd Park and Cabrillo High School, will feature geometric shapes celebrating landmarks in Long Beach in vibrant, warm, and engaging colors, said club spokesperson Kari Cho in an emailed statement.

During the planning phase, Project Color Corps, a nonprofit helping with the mural, taught the kids about color and learned how the colors made them feel, which helped the youth vote on two design schemes reflective of their words and voice for the mural.

“It’s not just repainting the old walls, it is giving these kids, that have very little, a sense of ownership, optimism, and empowerment,” she said.

Project Color Corps artists are painting a youth-voted mural on the Boys & Girls Club of Long Beach Freeman E. Fairfield/Westside Center on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. Photo by Crystal Niebla.

West Long Beach is home to a largely low-income community that also suffers the effects of poor air quality, which makes residents especially vulnerable to the economic and health effects of the coronavirus.

Project Color Corps artists and volunteers have already kicked off painting the mural, which will cover the left, front and right sides of the center, while the clubs are closed for Thanksgiving break, said lead artist Rebekah Waites. They’re leaving about 5 feet of the bottom of the mural mostly unpainted so that youth reach it.

On Thursday, Dec. 3, the kids will return and help paint the finishing touches between 1 and 4:30 p.m., according to the Cho’s statement.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Long Beach Freeman E. Fairfield/Westside Center is located on 1835 W. Willard St.

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Crystal Niebla is the West Long Beach reporter through the Report for America program. Philanthropic organizations pledged to cover the local donor portion of her grant-funded position with the Post. If you want to support Crystal's work, you can donate to her Report For America position at