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Public Art Murals Inspire San Diego Kids To Stay In School

A temporary art project in Southeastern San Diego was unveiled Thursday at the 47th Street Trolley Station. It's part of an education campaign to encourage students to graduate from high school and pursue a college degree.

You Can Do It Art Project

Educator and artist Ray Kinne from O'Farrell Community School is literally changing the face of the neighborhood he grew up in.

"I actually used to skateboard in the ditches right here before it was actually the trolley station, so it was just a drainage ditch," Kinne said.


Thirty years later he said he never imagined doing something like this to visually encourage kids to pursue higher education. "Actually I was the only kid who was going to fail in middle school art," he said jokingly.

Kinne and a team of art students are putting the final touches on what he calls temporary tattoos inspired by street artists.

"All we did was take plain paper on an oversize printer; we took the images, printed them out large and what we do is we just make our own glue out of flower, sugar and water. It's non-toxic and easy to remove." Kinne said.

Dozens of oversized pictures of kids celebrating graduation with their parents and grandparents are going up on public facilities and private buildings in Southeastern San Diego. The theory is when people see others doing something positive, they will emulate that behavior.

Liann Page and Lenette Bradley agree. They're recent graduates from UC San Diego and were thrilled to see the murals.


"It's really going to help people see the vision, see that you can graduate, like you can do it, look who else is doing it, it's possible for you. We need that because the odds are against us in terms of education," Page said.

"I just felt a lot of love and support from this mural. I felt like the community was saying, 'We got you graduates, you can do it and guess what's happening at the end of the tunnel? Like there are lots of supporters there for you,'" Bradley said.

Fourth District Councilman Tony Young says the project only cost $5,000 and will remain up for about a month to remind passers-by to stay in school and pursue a college degree. A new state report shows San Diego County graduation rates last year were slightly above the state average of 76 percent. There were also significant gains among Latino, black and English language learners.