Rowlett Park is located in an extremely depressed area of Tampa in which the high school drop out rate is astronomical. We held a tryout in which thirty neighborhood youths attended. From this tryout, six were selected to participate. The process consisted of four months of after school classes including painting, drawing, Photoshop and job training on Saturdays. Once the teens felt prepared, they began the design process. After a month of ideas, sketching, photography, and interviews, they had a completed design. Upon completion of the design they were required to present it to The City of Tampa’s Public Art Program, and the Sulphur Springs Neighborhood Association. Upon approval we began the execution. The teens were required to keep journals of their progress, time sheets and bank accounts. Each teen was paid an hourly wage and was required to save 10% to be received upon graduation from high school.
The final image was the result of sensitive and respectful research that illuminated a very important aspect of all the teens’ lives. They chose to represent the women in their lives: sisters, mothers, grandmothers, and the environment of women in different stages of their lives. It was their answer to the absence of male role models. When asked about the image; “where are the men”, they would reply “Exactly”.