HAMILTON, Ohio — Research shows the arts help teens develop creative thinking skills and provide a platform for them to express themselves, and one Hamilton youth organization has created a space to make that happen.

What You Need To Know

  • Artists in the Hamilton Young People Empowered (H.Y.P.E.) program have been working on a mural for Jungle Jim

  • Artists were responsible for creating one portion of the mural

  • H.Y.P.E. is an employment readiness program designed to help teens develop life skills and gain pride of themselves  and the community

  • The mural was presented to Jungle Jim outside his international market

Alisa Deangelis, 15, is one of the artists in the Hamilton Young People Empowered, or H.Y.P.E., program. Painting is something Deangelis said she’s always enjoyed doing.

“My favorite thing about painting is I like how it all comes together,” said Deangelis. 

Deangelis and her fellow artists have been working on a mural of Jungle Jim, the founder of Jungle Jim's International Market, one of the largest supermarkets in Ohio.

It is one of several murals they’ve created during the summer with the help of their art instructor.

“It’s always exciting, because sometimes he takes us to them or sometimes we do them here and I just like being a part of something,” she said. 

Brent Billingsley is the art instructor for H.Y.P.E., an employment readiness program designed to help teens develop life skills and gain pride in themselves and the community. 

“You have to give young people something tangible to do that is positive, because if you do not then negative things will find them,” said Billingsley.

He said the “one piece at a time” mural is teaching the students the importance of team building.

“We do this thing together,” he said. “But what you should focus on is what you can do and what’s in your control and once that’s done you add that to the whole.”

Deangelis has finally completed her portion of the mural and adding it to the other pieces of the “puzzle.”

“Although I only did a chunk of it, I’m so happy that people are going to see it,” she said. “And I hope that people are happy with what they see.”