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Calling all #OttCity youth – the Paint It Up! Program is for you!

This summer, Paint It Up! is the perfect way for young people to flex their artistic muscles, get involved in their community, and have some fun in the sun. If you’re looking for ideas for fun summer activities, look no further!


The Paint It Up! youth engagement program works with non-profits to promote the use of outdoor murals to:

  • Support local arts and culture

  • Enhance the city’s beauty for residents and visitors

  • Engage youth in positive skill-building experiences

  • Support vandalism prevention, community safety and the beautification of Ottawa neighbourhoods through youth empowerment and community arts

Since 2010, Paint It Up! has involved more than 2,925 youth in 103 murals across the City.


The Paint It Up! impact

In 2023, Operation Come Home (OCH) led a Paint It Up! mural on Gloucester Street that they called “Providing Youth Employment and Arts Education at Gloucester.” Idriss and Marieanne were two participants in the creation of this mural.



When asked about what they enjoyed most about participating in the program, Marieanne said they enjoyed “being able to work on art outside.” Idris echoed these sentiments, noting that “sometimes it can feel like there’s a teeny bit of elitism when it comes to art,” but, “that’s not at all true. What is struggle if not art itself?”


Idris feels a sense of pride when looking at the mural on the side of the OCH building: “I think my favourite part was just being able to throw stress and worry to the side for a little bit. The only thing I had to worry about was which shade of purple spray paint I wanted to use. It was a nice feeling that at risk/homeless youth don’t get to feel a lot.”


There are many benefits for youth to get involved in these programs and, according to Marieanne, “it shows that people want to invest in the youth.”


How to get involved

Youth recruitment and participation in the program is an independent decision-making process handled by the organization’s project leads on each approved project. Once the 2024 projects are confirmed and announced on Wednesday, May 1, they will be posted on the Paint It Up page on ottawa.ca. Any youth, or parent of a youth, between the ages of 12 and 25 will then be able to contact the organizations directly if they are interested in participating.

So get your paint brushes ready – your time to shine is coming!

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