YOU ARE LOVED Mural Project

The public conversation about worth, value, and well-being is often dark. We are surrounded by belittling messages of materialism, bullying, and violence. Instead, imagine the words "YOU ARE LOVED," - the letters, 10 feet tall, covering the side of a public school in your community. Imagine the internal conversations it will cause when people read "YOU ARE NEEDED" emblazoned on a public wall, undercutting all the voices that fill our public spaces, the internet, and public thought cruelly proclaiming the opposite.

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Imagine a young person, struggling with fears about her appearance, drinking in a confident, colorful mural declaring "YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL" instead of the belittling message of sex-based advertising. Imagine another, struggling to find work, encountering an unequivocal public statement that "YOU CAN DO IT." 

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The YOU ARE LOVED mural project collaborates with schools, worship groups, shelters, prisons and more,  to change the public conversation about worth and value. We use these messages:

YOU ARE LOVED
YOU ARE NEEDED
YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL
YOU ARE IMPORTANT
YOU CAN DO IT

Every YOU ARE LOVED mural is painted with members of the community. Whether that be students at a school, residents at a shelter or inmates in a prison, we know that people feel this message more when they have participated in the project. The community takes ownership of it, the message becomes part of  the culture, and sinks in, having a deep effect. 

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Since 2014 we have created 50 YOU ARE LOVED murals in 11 states and 2 countries. In the next 5 years we'd like to at least double that! In fact, we'd like this idea to catch nationwide. What if every student had seen a YOU ARE LOVED mural in their school? What if it were normal for us to speak openly about the fact that we are loved, valuable, and capable? Putting these unapologetic murals in more and more places begins to normalize the idea. It becomes more and more of a public conversation. It undercuts the culture of bullying, cruelty, and hatred of the other. 

We have seen the power of these messages in a wide array of communities, from the richest to the poorest, across race and ethnicity. In the coming years we are focusing on bringing YOU ARE LOVED murals to shelters, prisons, and under-funded schools. This means we need to create a source of funding to enable these projects. 

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To enable us to focus entirely on the communities and the murals we are trying to raise $30,000 for the upcoming year of projects. The main costs we incur are the time creating each mural, the cost of supplies and travel, and the countless hours of outreach, prep, and administrative work to bring these murals to fruition. 

Please make a donation today! Share the idea with your friends. Let people know that you believe in this message and that it should be shared broadly and confidently. AND, if you have a facility in mind where people would be helped by a strong, confident YOU ARE LOVED mural - please let us know!! 

YOU ARE LOVED!

"In a day and age when students are inundated with negative messages and stress levels are at an all-time high, sometimes, it only takes a little reminder both in word and action to remind a child that they are valued, appreciated, and seen.  Our YOU ARE LOVED mural reminds our community why we come through those gates each and every day…you be the difference in a child’s life."

Dr. Todd Schmidt
Principal – Harbor View Elementary
Newport Beach, CA

"The “You Are Loved” mural created by Alex Cook in downtown Burlington, Vermont as part of a Human Trafficking awareness campaign, has become a focal point in our community.  The victims of human trafficking who participated in painting the wall now consider it “their” wall and feel so much ownership and pride in its existence, making them feel visible and supported.  It has also become the most photographed wall in the city and serves to constantly remind us that we have both a problem and solution."

Aimee Stearns
Victim Witness Coordinator
The U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Vermont

“Alex is a wonderful teacher and guide.  In this work trust is imperative and rapport is essential.   Alex delivered on both counts.  The work itself is inspiring, Kids created and learned.  What a great week!  The result is stunning, uplifting and needed.  As a facility that serves our state’s most vulnerable kids, we’ve been graced with a gift.”

Mike Riggan
Superintendent
Oak Creek Youth Correctional Facility and Young Women’s Transition Program
Albany, Oregon

"I screwed up so many times and had let people down, and I was contemplating on making a seriously bad decision that would affect a whole lot of people.  It would have been a selfish decision, and ultimately my final decision. I didn't feel like I mattered anymore.  

I said a prayer asking God to help me.  Afterwards I took a walk through a parking lot and saw your mural. [You Are Needed]I felt like it was a personal message to me.  I almost started to cry. It greatly lifted my heart.And for that, I wanted to say thank you.   Thank you so much."

Anonymous

"When times are hard and we forget to take care of ourselves, it’s nice to be reminded there is more in life than we can see." – Adam

"Some people may think it’s a corny saying, but it is universally true.  All people are loved by somebody." – Mark

"The mural is an inspiration for what I do and to put a smile on other peoples faces is priceless." – David
 
"I think the mural inspires people, reminding people they are loved and wanted, which can sometimes be the most important thing.  They are not forgotten and this situation is only temporary."  – Ed

Reactions from residents at Southampton Street Shelter, Boston, MA 

 

Donations

  • Ya-Lei Betz 
    • $100 
    • 35 mos
  • Susan Humble 
    • $250 
    • 35 mos
  • Diana Rhodes 
    • $50 
    • 36 mos
  • Maryl Walters 
    • $50 
    • 36 mos
  • Nancy Challenger 
    • $100 
    • 36 mos
See all

Organizer

Alex Cook 
Organizer
Jamaica Plain, MA
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