Teens leave mark at Golf Mill in Niles
Niles Teen Center members Aneta Aleksandrowicz, Halley Jacobs and Alexis Treguboff are three of the participants in "The Faces of Afterschool." | Michelle LaVigne~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 1, 2013 6:38AM
More than just a piece of art, the Niles Teen Center’s tile art project tells the stories of what positive activities local teens participate in after school.
This is the second year the Niles Teen Center is participating in the Tile Art Project, part of the national “Lights On Afterschool” program that emphasizes the need for positive programming to keep kids involved in safe and healthy activities after school gets out.
Teens from the Niles Teen Center and other local agencies drew pictures of themselves along with images of what they like to do afterschool to fit this year’s theme of the Tile Art Project, “The Faces of Afterschool.”
“I drew myself, the ‘One Direction’ logo, Japanese anime, a computer and a book,” said Alexis Treguboff, who attends Maine East High School. “I thought it was pretty cool, because you got to be creative with it.”
Treguboff said she loves to come to the Niles Teen Center after school and listen to “One Direction” songs with her friends.
Aneta Aleksandrowicz, who attends Gemini Junior High School, also drew a picture of herself along with the Niles Teen Center and the logo of the popular band, “One Direction.”
“I totally enjoyed doing it,” said Aleksandrowicz, who said she enjoys doing art projects. “It was pretty fun.”
Aleksandrowicz said that after school she enjoys coming to the teen center to do her homework, hang out with her friends, listen to music and play dance video games.
“I solicit entries from as many youth agencies as I can find,” said Mark Williams, director of the Niles Teen Center that is located at Golf Mill Mall. “I pick out ones that best fit the theme.”
Williams said he selected 100 pieces of artwork out of about 200 entries. Students from various agencies, such as a local Boy Scout troop, St. John Brebeuf and East Maine Dist. 63 schools that participate in their afterschool program submitted entries to be part of the project.
The students use crayons, colored pencils and markers to make their drawings, which are then sent to a company where they are converted into ceramic tiles. The tiles are mounted on to a wooden frame, which is then mounted onto a wall.
JC Penney sponsors the Tile Art Project, which is a permanent art installation at the mall. Williams said it costs about $650 to convert the artwork to the tiles.
“Probably 20 years down the road it’ll still be there,” Williams said.
An unveiling ceremony for the Tile Art Project will be held on Saturday, Feb. 16 from noon to 12:30 p.m. at Golf Mill Mall near JC Penney and Surf City Squeeze.
“The parents have made requests to celebrate what the kids have done,” said Williams.
Mayor Robert Callero will be making comments at the upcoming ceremony.
Williams said throughout the year he tries to provide arts and crafts projects for the teens to participate in after school. He hopes the Tile Art project will stay strong.
“We plan to continue it as long as we can,” he said.