Teens Design Mural for Planned Parenthood on Bleecker Street

By Rosa Goldensohn on June 17, 2014 8:50am 

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 Teen artists created a mural for the lobby of the Planned Parenthood NYC headquarters on Bleeker Street.
Planned Parenthood Mural
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NOHO — A Planned Parenthood-themed mural designed by local teenagers recently went on display inside the clinic's Bleecker Street headquarters.

The mural, which decorates Planned Parenthood's lobby, is based on the organization's motto, "Care. No matter what," and will be dedicated in a public ceremony on Wednesday evening.

"It looks like a mandala, but it's really a birth control pill, and what looks like wings is also a stethoscope," said Joan Malin, president of Planned Parenthood NYC, in praise of the teens' brightly colored design.

"They wove in the medical piece, the education, the services."

A team of 10 teenagers designed and painted the mural through Groundswell, a group that creates public art in the city as a way of building communities and engaging teens. The mural features portraits of a doctor and a patient, and it also shows supporters carrying signs reading "Care for all."

Some of the teens participated in the Planned Parenthood mural after completing court-ordered community service with Groundswell, the organization said.

The teens began to work on design ideas for the mural in January and pitched them to Planned Parenthood in March, before picking up their brushes in April. The young artists then painted the mural on parachute cloth at Groundswell's studio in Gowanus and then installed it last month at Planned Parenthood at 26 Bleecker St.

Amy Sananman, Groundswell's executive director, said the teens embraced the challenge of making a mural based on Planned Parenthood's mission. 

"How are we gonna work in condoms, birth control, sperm into a mural that's appropriate to a lobby?" she asked. "It's about health education for families, and access to all the full range of services and health." 

Sananman said the kids responded to "the high bar that having a real client creates."

Groundswell paid the teen artists a $300 stipend for their work, and Planned Parenthood paid $5,000 for materials and installation.

Malin said the lobby feels different now when she walks through it each morning.

"I think it's just so incredibly affirming of who we are, what we stand for," Malin said.

Planned Parenthood will hold a reception to dedicate the mural on June 18 from 5 to 7 p.m. at 26 Bleecker St.

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