The YES youth in Flint identified the graffiti on the sides of locally-owned stores as a community liability. They felt that the graffiti was a symbol of violence and they wanted to paint a mural over the graffiti as a way to communicate the importance of non-violence. The Boat Mural, which was competed in 2007, represents several themes. The youth worked as a team to generate the themes: intergenerational connections, community liabilities and the desire for the community to move forward.
The bridge represents inter-generational connection between adults (represented by the buildings, with strong foundations) and youth (represented by the flowers, as new growth). Community liabilities (bottles, handcuffs, gun) are under water to indicate the community is moving past them. The boat represents the importance of love in bringing the community together. The writing on the wall is a poem written by a YES alumni the previous year. The students liked the poem and had it incorporated into the mural. A local artist helped the participants to merge those themes and words into a paper draft of the mural. The artist outlined the picture and the words on the wall and the students applied the paint.
The result is an outstanding piece of art for the community to enjoy. It is interesting to note, that even though the mural is located in an area that has lots of graffiti, in the years since the mural was painted it has never been tagged by graffiti.