A CAW Youth Apprentice is making a difference in the world...
Without Leaving his Block

Tyrese at the front door of his building. By pure coincidence, his mural worksite is less than twenty feet to his right. 


Every morning, Tyrese Kierstedt walks out the front door of his apartment building, hangs a left, goes twenty feet and arrives at his summer job. Tyrese is one of several Youth Apprentices who are painting Creative Art Works' third mural for West Harlem Group Assistance, a community-based development corporation dedicated to revitalizing West and Central Harlem communities. The mural is located on the northwest corner of 142nd Street and Lenox Avenue, half a block north of Communities for Healthy Food at WHGA, a food pantry that promotes healthy lifestyles and provides related services to Harlem residents.

Tyrese says, "When I first got the email that CAW was offering me a job, I was immediately interested, because I liked the idea of painting a mural, but also because I saw the work site was on 142nd Street, and I live on 142nd. So I called up and asked for the street number, and they told me it's 115, and I said, 'That’s my building!'"

Tyrese may be working on his own block, but he is helping to build ties with his community. 

So far, it’s been a pretty cool experience. I think the skills I’m learning are going to be useful in the future because I might want to be a mechanical engineer or an architect. Math is my favorite subject, so I did the calculations to scale up the drawing onto the wall. And you gotta be able to draw buildings in architecture or diagrams in engineering. It’s art, but it’s also work experience.
— Tyrese Kierstedt

Tyrese is a Youth Apprentice in CAW’s Public Art Youth Employment Program, which gives full-time summer jobs to teens and young adults creating large-scale public art or multimedia projects. Youth Apprentices are involved at all stages of the endeavor, from the initial planning to the public unveiling. They gain tangible employment skills, as well as general life skills such as leadership, teamwork, responsibility, and the power of taking initiative.  

Savanah in progress.

"I got to add some images of my own to the design." says Tyrese. "I drew a picture of my niece, Savannah. The drawing came out pretty good, so Beata [Teaching Artist Beata Drozd] felt it should be part of the mural. I just got to meet Savannah for the first time this week, when my brother came up from North Carolina for a visit. She just turned three. I’m pretty sure I’m gonna miss her when she leaves, so it’s going to be nice to have that picture to remember her by."


"I hope our mural will bring people together," says Tyrese, "because it represents community and healthy lifestyles. I think it will add a lot of flavor to the neighborhood." 


Please, join us for the unveiling of this mural!

Tuesday, August 9th
2:00 PM
115 West 142nd Street, NY, NY 10030

A reception with light refreshments to follow.

This program was made possible, in part, with funding from the Summer Youth Employment Program of the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, as well as by NYC Council members Mark Levine and Melissa Mark-Viverito, and these generous supporters: