Our Home, Our Art: DC General Teens Create their Mural

Posted by on May 16, 2016 in Featured Stories |

What’s the first thing you do when you move into a new place? Decorate!

Artistic expression is one of the main ways that we transform a mere house or apartment into a home. Yet for the young people living at DC General, many of whom have been there for many months, there has never been a real opportunity to make their house a home. Until now.

In an exciting partnership with Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW), Playtime Project teens are getting the space and encouragement to re-vision the spaces where they live. Over the course of a couple of weeks this spring, they’ve demonstrated that the DC General teen space can be more than just a waiting room for whatever is next. Now, the halls leading up to the new Preteen and Teen space are a colorful testament to the creativity and spirit of DC young people.

It all started with lessons on how to make and use stencils.

Getting Our Stencils Ready

We took the time to learn how to create art in advance, carving out the forms that we would soon fill with paint.

Learning to Make a Mural

Finally, all the advanced preparation was done. The weekend was here. Time to make some art!

Safety First!

Here’s what things looked like before…


Pretty boring, right? But just wait!

Stencil Painting

We put those stencils to work – first in practice rounds, to get everyone used to the process of creating art on walls.

Fun with Murals!

We got the hang of it pretty quickly!

Beautiful colors!

It is so much fun to re-paint your world in vivid color.

Painting the Mural

The hallway began to transform. The teen space had a different feel.

A Mural Wall

Look at those walls! The mural even creeps out onto the floor!

...and After!

This mural has breathed new life into a space that was once drab and institutional. It’s amazing how artistic creativity can create such a difference!

We’re grateful to the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop for their expert facilitation, and to the teens of DC General, whose creative powers prove that they are truly heroes of play.