DALLAS -- Some teens in southern Dallas are working to change the negative perception of their neighborhoods. They are doing it through history and art projects that will be popping up at some DART bus stops across the city.
The first installation was unveiled, on Thursday, at a bus stop on Elsie Faye Heggins Street outside Lincoln High School. Dayjus Hill was among a group of Rising Star Council members who worked on the project with an artist and mentors with the Mayor’s Star Council.
Hill is a student leader at Lincoln High School who is committed to making some changes in her community. She says the bus stop art project is part of that change. Hill says she gets frustrated over the negative stereotypes she often hears about her South Dallas neighborhood.
“Just because we live in southern Dallas, people stereotype us," Hill shared.
The Lincoln High School senior believes her community is so much more. She only wishes more people would see it.
"South Dallas is a place that I can call home," Hill said proudly.
The teen is among a group of students working with the Mayor's Star Council on strategies to change perceptions of southern Dallas communities through art. The first design collaboration is called “Rose That Grew Through Concrete.”
"The rose stands for the beauty that we could have throughout the cracks,” Hill explained. “The cracks in the street represent the struggles and all of the other different things that we go through as a community in the north and the south."
The Mayor’s Star Council’s Executive Director, Diana Einstein, says the teens had a simple mission working with the artists.
"They were asked to listen, to smell, to see, to experience. To use their senses and understand the history of the community, and also what their goals for this community are," Einstein said.
The bus stop art project is supported through businesses like Freeman Company, Neiman Marcus, Atmos Energy, and the Dallas Mavericks. Several DART bus shelters will be decorated with the students’ design concepts.
Organizers say the plan is to map the bus stops to give residents a chance to explore the history of different neighborhoods and the students’ vision for those communities.
Mayor's Star Council members say the project is part of their ongoing efforts to Grow South, by bridging gaps and breaking barriers.
Mayor’s Star Council Board member Tony Fundaro said, “We want to highlight the amazing people, communities, and the future of the students and their passions."
Hill says she is passionate about promoting the positive in her community. "The potential is so good here,” she said. “We just need a chance. If people would give us a chance, I'm pretty sure it could happen."
The college-bound teen says you do not have to ride the bus, to stop and see what’s blossoming in her neighborhood.
You can learn more about the Mayor’s Star Council by visiting the group’s website.