YWCA of Van Wert County staff pose together on a crosswalk they recently painted on Central Avenue. (Photo submitted)
YWCA of Van Wert County staff pose together on a crosswalk they recently painted on Central Avenue. (Photo submitted)

VAN WERT – Late last week the YWCA of Van Wert County began painting a crosswalk on Central Avenue around the area between the Eugene Bagley Art Alley and the Wassenberg Art Center. YWCA Advocacy Coordinator Kelly Houg said that the YWCA Staff and Board members worked together over several days to paint the crosswalk, which they hope helps spread their message.

“We were aware that the crosswalk on Main Street over the summer was being painted,” said Houg. “We were super intrigued by it and thought it was a really cool concept.”

Houg has worked with others to provide “Advocacy through Art” events such as a design featuring a Maya Angelou quote, making clay necklaces and bracelets with words of empowerment on them, and more.

“I’m very aware that art is a powerful tool in all aspects,” said Houg. “We are always looking for ways to get our mission out there and to remind people of who we are, what we do, and why we do what we do.”

Houg felt that partnering with Main Street Van Wert to paint another crosswalk in town would help the YWCA get their message out through art.

The YWCA sent a design in to the Main Street Van Wert design review board which was approved. The design features the YWCA colors, their logo, and specific words that reflect their mission statement.

The crosswalk was made possible through supplies donated from ACE Hardware. Tempera paint was utilized which will eventually fade. Houg said it is the YWCA’s hope that they could continue to paint the crosswalk with certain themes. In the spring, during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Houg said the YWCA could unitize turquoise and a specific message for that month or in the fall, During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, they could utilize purple with a specific message.

“We really felt like it was a great way to utilize art and capture people’s attention through the medium of art, while still getting bits and pieces of our mission out there,” said Houg who also noted that the crosswalk was a lot of work and a “labor of love.” “We have such an awesome staff here and everyone is willing to pitch in to whatever event we have going on and whatever awareness campaign we have going on. Everyone is willing to jump on board and pitch in.”

“We’re very thankful to Main Street Van Wert for letting us collaborate on this and for their willingness to let us try it,” added Houg. “We’re super proud to work with them.”