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Street Art - A voice for young people

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How do you change negative attitudes towards young people in Alice Springs?

We started with a dozen graffitied barrels. It's part of an art project that demonstrates how young people can change their town for the better.

Red Cross in partnership with Headspace, the Uniting Church and local artists is supporting young people to share and shape community spaces in positive ways.

Over 80 young people were involved in the Street Meets Arts Project using artwork to be expressive and have a voice. One of the projects was to create an art installation of painted recycled barrels for the centre of town.

The aim, to change the perception that if you're young and Aboriginal in Alice you may not feel welcome in the centre of town and may even be moved on.

Red Cross worker Tarn Kaldor says young people in town are portrayed in a negative light. 

"It's often a picture of crime and disturbance, with little recognition of young people's strengths and resilience amidst challenges."

Tarn says significantly boredom leads to trouble, with very few spaces or activities in town for young people who may be vulnerable.

"Often 'youth issues' are met with measures that see the cycle of crime and violence perpetuated."

"We believe that engaging young people in meaningful activities is a more constructive and effective way of breaking the cycle of youth offending.

"It's also a positive way to build up a young person's confidence and capacity."

The young artists painted the barrels with words and images that were meaningful to them, expressing their creativity and strengths.

The colourful barrels will take pride of place at the "Meeting Place" during March and then distributed as waste bins throughout Alice Springs.

Red Cross wants more investment in programs that solve the problems which lead to crime in the first place. Education, mental health, drug and alcohol treatment and peer support programs need the same kind of investment that now goes into prisons. Find out why