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Mural Artist Works with Youth 

Article published on-line at MADD Summit Daily Sentinel

Mural Artist Works with Youth
by Laura Berry

Although the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Youth Summit allows young people to listen and voice opinions about underage drinking, it also provides a unique chance for the delegates to artistically express their views. Throughout the Summit, the delegates will be working on a six panel mural posing as the backdrop for the media conference on Tuesday, May 13.

Xavier Cortada, the artist overseeing the production of the mural, believes it will give the delegates “a meaningful and exciting exercise through which they can articulate their collective and individual resolve.”

Each of the six panels of the mural will represent one of six points being brought up during the summit sessions: Media Influence, Parental and Peer Pressure, Accessibility to Alcohol, Drunk Driving, and Law Enforcement. Cortada will paint scenes depicting each of the six points on the panels.

Every single delegate, however, will be asked to submit a small piece of paper with a message reflecting one of six points.

Cortada said he views his painting as “the outlining” for the delegates messages.


“I’m providing a structure, around which they can have voices,” Cortada said.

“It only takes two minutes to write a strong and creative message,” Cortada said. “It is important to sign and submit a message because the delegates are saying they endorse the message behind the Summit.” Cortada feels that the mural can help people realize that underage drinking is a problem.

“Pictures speak a thousand words,” Cortada said. “When people see it, they have a direct impact... and everything that has happened at this summit will be recreated.”

According to Cortada, the 18 foot wide and 4 foot high mural will hopefully be a traveling exhibit, perhaps even on the Capitol or in a museum. Its final resting place, Cortada said, will eventually be the MADD headquarters. Cortada stressed the point that all delegates are asked to sign the back of the mural and to submit a message to it.

“Art is universal,” Cortada said. “This mural will serve as a record of what the youth of America came here to do on Mother’s Day weekend of 1997.”

Back to the main National Youth Summit page