Mural Project


In 2014, Youth Arts Alliance! launched it’s Music, Mural, Mosaic Project! to create  public art in workshops facilitated by established artist activists in the Michigan region.  The mural portion of the project took place in Southeast Michigan juvenile detention facilities as well as in the Livingston County Juvenile Court.  The youth created large-scale works that were installed in these facilities.  Many of them had never painted before and certainly had not dreamed of being part of such a huge collaborative project.   They were extremely proud of their accomplishments and of how well they worked together with their peers.  One teen indicated what a welcome change it was to be recognized for something good instead of for the “other stuff.”




Mary Thiefels is mural artist and educator based in Ann Arbor Michigan. She conducts public mural workshops with teens through the Ann Arbor Art Center and Community High School. In 2007, she founded TreeTown Murals, which has helped revive the public mural tradition within Washtenaw County and the state of Michigan.   Many of her murals can be seen on buildings and public spaces in the city of Ann Arbor.

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Juan Javier Pescador is a photographer, documentary filmmaker and installation artist whose work reflects on social justice and activism in contemporary society with respect to race, gender and ethnicity.  His artwork has been exhibited in galleries, museums and community centers in the US including the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago and the Detroit Institute of Arts.  Pescador’s documentaries give voice to marginalized communities (Latinos, LGBTQ, Migrant Workers and the challenges of education for poor and disenfranchised youth) and have been screened in international film festivals in the United States and Canada. Determined 2 Make It is his fifth documentary film. Juan Javier Pescador is a Full Professor at Michigan State University in the History Department.


Gabrielle Pescador is a visual artist and filmmaker. She is commited to the idea that education through art can lead to transformational experiences to help people discover themselves in new ways and give birth to creative solutions for breaking through old patterns of pain and suffering.   Pescador has participated in various art/social justice projects for all ages on issues of homophobia, transphobia and juvenile justice. Her installations and paintings have been exhibited at the National Museum of Mexican Art, the Detroit Institute of Art and in galleries and museums in the US, Canada and Spain. Her documentary films, made in collaboration with Juan Javier Pescador, have been screened in international film festivals in Toronto, New York City, New Orleans and several other cities in North America. Determined 2 Make It is her third documentary film. ­Gabrielle Pescador holds an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Studio from the School at the Art Institute of Chicago.