Kristy McCarthy

Police Athletic League BX

Gift of Choice


“Gift of Choice”, on the Police Athletic League Building in the New South Bronx, was designed and painted in collaboration with 18 youth apprentices for the Creative Artworks Summer Mural Program. After three weeks of team building, brainstorming, interviewing community members, consulting with the client, and researching the history of the neighborhood, the youth chose this message of hope and unity to inspire their peers to make healthy choices and avoid the path to violence. Drawing on our discussions of visual metaphors and symbolism in art, the design features waterlillies, a symbol of resilience and strength through struggle, as it must gestate in the mud and murky waters before blooming into a beautiful flower.

As a storm clears behind them, two of PAL’s youth sit atop lilly pads and work together to unlock the magic of their potential futures through the arts, sports, and music programming that the Police Athletic League offers. Each end piece of the mural features a mandala created by one of the youth themselves, encasing Adinkra and Mayan symbols of unity as a visual call for solidarity between the black and hispanic communities of the surrounding neighborhood.