Teens' Mural for Change

Hello, we are Chattanooga youth that strongly believe we can make a difference. We are making a mural showing problems that we believe affect schools, communities, and even you. These issues are bullying, drug abuse, and gang violence. We shouldn’t sit in our learning environment in fear of what’s on the other side of the door. No kid should second guess their presence on Earth, because of someone else. We believe we should be able to live without worrying about what’s right over our shoulder.

We are in need of a change in our community. There have been 122 of homicides in Chattanooga since 2016, most of which were gang  related.  Quintasia Tate, Teaunte Rice,  Malik Sawyer,  Eric Fluellen , Kentrell Provens, Jaylen Hymon, and Jalen Little  are just some of the teens gunned down recently. Furthermore, over 14% of highschool students have considered suicide and 7% have attempted it because of bullying. Kids in our community also die every year because of drug abuse and they are not the only ones affected.


How Much Help do We Need?

Our budget:
$13,896 Total Cost
$5100 Teen Stipends
$2000 Professional artists Josiah Golson and Genesis the Greykid
$2100 Mark Making Staff
$3718 Supplies and Equipment
$978 Documentation and Unveiling Event

$6,600 Already raised from grants and individual donations.
$7,296 What we need to finish this mural.

WHO? -
I’m Tahlia Smith (17) and I’m the project manager on a team that includes Kennedy Bass (17), Skylar Muhammad (17) and Ricardo Nache (21). Last winter we started thinking about making a mural that would show a heartfelt message. We found a site at Stove Works and started planning. We all agreed that we wanted to say something important that could make a difference. We ended up with an image of a school hallway and put our portraits beside it to say that we want to be different and that anyone can choose not do these things, and work together to make our schools a place where we can get an education.




- We hope to have paved the way for new leaders that will give us some life-changing solutions. This would also be an amazing view for Stove Works and the artists that go there from all over the world.

Who’s helping us?
We’re working with a Chattanooga nonprofit called Mark Making. They’ve been here since 2009 and have worked with 2,600 children, teens, adults with mental and developmental challenges, the homeless and the incarcerated to create murals and other art projects all over town. They support local artists by paying them to work with these groups. They also pay stipends to teens in their work-readiness/art making initiative called Magic Markers- the group we’re part of.

We’ve also gotten help from Josiah Golson, a local artist and author who helped us with the figure drawings. We’ll be working more with Genesis the Greykid to create a background of words and symbols behind the portraits that express what we feel and how people can get help.
Memorial Area: There’s an area with boarded up windows under the school hallway. Because Stove Works use to be a coffin factory, we thought it would be cool to put coffins there – like results coming down from all the bad activity above. It was pretty obvious that we could honor real teens here and give their families a chance to feel heard.

Please consider helping us finish our mural. Even five dollars – what you might spend on a soda and some chips would be great! For those who want to give more- please remember that you would be donating through Mark Making and that makes it a charitable contribution so they can send you a letter of acknowledgement.
You can also help by sharing this on your social media and sending email and message links to everyone you think might be interested.

Our Process for Creating this Mural

We started way back in September 2018....
Mark Making decided to facilitate a teen driven mural by former Magic Markers, it's summer compensated teen program that focuses on art and developing professional skills.

September - December:  Five team members were hired as Independent Contractors to create the mural

December: Mural space was found at Stoveworks; the site would be underconstruction for at least a year.

December - January: Team decides to focus on a theme that they know most about because they experience it  in their schools: bullying, gang violence and drug abuse.


March: Team sent out a Call for Artists to collect input and compositions.
Genisis facilitated a session where teens came up with words and phrases for the "future cloud."
Finalize a composition but needed help with figure drawing.
Josiah Golson worked with the teens to get the figure drawings in place.
The team realized that the coffin area could serve as a memorial for Chattanooga teens who had lost their lives to violence. 

Made two "rehearsal" presentations to Mark Making fans and representatives of small foundations. Some of them offered donations.
The rehearsals were for the teens presentation at Barnett and Company.

Tahlia and Shea wrote an Arts Build CCC grant....

....that was funded in full!


Still needing funds, the team decided to launch a GoFundMe campaign and made an awesome video!! with no outside help!

Team taped radio sessions with Richard Wyndham, aired October 1st.

We are currently working to raise media attention to support the funding of this project! You can help us by donating and sharing our campaign. We feel that this mural is important in our community and needs to be completed!


Mark Making is an arts-based nonprofit in Chattanooga, Tennessee whose mission is to empower individuals and transform communities. We seek to facilitate projects that prompt marginalized populations and the community at large to reconsider assumptions about civic participation, advocacy, and our own abilities, encouraging progress toward a more inclusive, equitable society.  Since 2009, Mark Making has worked with over 2,600 underserved individuals including children in foster care, teens, people with mental and developmental disorders, the homeless, and the incarcerated. We have  created over 70 public art installations, and paid over $30,000 to local teens and $163,000 to local professional artists. 

Donations (0)

  • Anonymous 
    • $35 
    • 2 mos
  • Bege Rogers 
    • $20 
    • 2 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 2 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $1,000 
    • 2 mos
  • Sharon Turner 
    • $100 
    • 2 mos
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Fundraising team: Stove Works Mural Team (5)

Frances McDonald 
Raised $5,890 from 51 donations
Chattanooga, TN
Mark Making 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are 100% tax deductible.
Learn more
Skylar Muhammad 
Team member
Raised $25 from 1 donation
Kennedy Bass 
Team member
Ricardo Nache 
Team member
Tahlia Smith 
Team member
This team raised $1,440 from 24 other donations.
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