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THURSDAY, JULY 29, 2010, 3:30 P.M.

Teens learn work skills. And downtown gets murals adding color and a little wackiness

Spokane pedestrians and drivers should see some new murals in downtown Spokane.

A message from the Spokane Arts Commission explains that work has finished on the “Wacky World of Harold Balazs”  at  the Fourth Avenue railroad underpass east of Sunset Boulevard. Another is at the Monroe Street underpass is finished with a theme of “Big River/Wild River.

Another mural, featuring the Manito Koi Pond, has gone up on the underpass at Lincoln across from the Steamplant Square.

The business connection: these works are the result of young artists from WorkSource Spokane's Next Generation Zone, who worked along with student volunteers from local colleges and universities. The WorkSource NextGen Zone project finds jobs for young people who learn job skills while doing interesting or useful things. This year the result was six weeks of mural work, done by a number of talented kids with a desire to paint and do something creative. They were supervised by Spokane artist Melissa Cole, who was hired by the City of Spokane Arts Commission.

For more information on WorkSource's Next Generation Zone, go to this site. According to Karen Mobley of the arts commission, this was the first summer-mural collaboration between WorkSource and the city in several years.

PHOTO: Duane Ralphs for Spokane Arts Department.

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The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.