Young & Established, a nonprofit youth organization at 1308 Vann Ave., unveiled a new mural inside its facility on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 17.
The 55-foot-by-12-foot mural was painted in just 10 days by Indianapolis artist Ashley Nora. Young & Established commissioned the mural, which was paid for through a grant from the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana.
Titled “I’m Rooting for Everybody Black,” the colorful mural features 16 prominent Black artists, athletes, and public figures such as King, boxer Muhammed Ali, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, tennis players Venus and Serena Williams, rapper Tupac Shakur, poet Maya Angelou, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and former President Barack Obama with first lady Michelle.
In the center of the mural, the word “culture” on filmmaker Spike Lee’s hat is painted with a 3D element designed to pop out when wearing special effect glasses.
“I’ve been blown away by her talents, her effort to complete this amazing mural,” says Young & Established Executive Director Courtney Johnson. “We can’t wait to show this off to the community.”
Nora, who said she received a call from Johnson in late December to work on the mural, noted it usually takes at least six weeks to complete a mural of this size, but because she believed in Johnson’s mission to inspire others, she accepted the expedited commission.
“I know how important it is for our youth to see the representation of powerful Black figures,” says Nora. “I hope this inspires and motivates people to live their dreams.”
The Young & Established Center, which opened in August 2020, gives youth a safe space with exposure to learning opportunities. It is equipped with a food pantry, computers, Wi-Fi, washers and dryers, and recreational games such as billiards and air hockey that are available for free. The center also offers mentoring, tutoring, and other community resources for area youth.