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Treasured Youth Co founder and chief executive Zoe Horner with 15-year-old artist Zoe Kerbey at the first completed mural.

Treasures found in inspirational murals for youth

By Melissa Sheil

ASPIRING not-for-profit Treasured Youth Co is spicing up public art, youth mental health awareness and the classic down south trip with its inspired ‘Treasure Trail of WA’ project, a collection of interactive murals that will begin in Kalamunda and finish in Esperance.

A swirling design of flowers around a lock and peeking eye painted across the wall of Walliston Deli is the first mural completed on the trail, but Treasured Youth Co chief executive and founder Zoe Horner hopes all 20 of the treasure sites on the road down south will be finished by 2022.

Allied with her crew of teenagers – including street artist Zoe Kerbey and digital consultant Kai Lovel, both aged 15 – Ms Horner hopes the project will help de-stigmatise the discussion of mental health and promote mindfulness in young people, targeting those aged 15-24 to be empowered.

“We really wanted to focus on youth for this project because that’s where the greatest change can be made – early intervention,” she said.

“Young people often don’t know how to deal with the situation they find themselves or where to go for help so that was a key element we addressed here.

“I’ve had my own experiences with anxiety and ADD so I know just how isolating it is and how much a safe space would have helped.”

Each public mural will contain an embedded QR code that when scanned, will lead them to an online platform where they submit a photo of themselves in front of the artwork.

Once this is done, a random act of kindness is generated to which  participants can  then perform, such as to give someone a compliment.

This unlocks an area allowing the person to read about someone else’s experience with mental health, access links to local support services and receive a voucher to redeem a wellness gemstone at a nearby designated ‘mental health’ store or café, where a trained mental health officer will be on duty.

With treasure sites set to be stretching across the south west, Ms Horner said the project aims to be community collaborative and specific, with each piece made by the youth, for the youth.

“This first piece on Walliston Deli was painted by lovely Zoe (Kerbey) but the ideas came from local kids,” she said.

“We’re all about genuine collaboration and wanted to make sure the voice of young people stayed strong in each piece.

“I know the [Walliston] Deli is a hangout for young people because this is where I used to hang out when I was a kid, but I won’t know the same for other places.

“As we engage with each unique community down WA, we will collect the ideas of more young people from schools and local youth groups make sure their input is valued for their local mural.”

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