PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The Peoria Park District unveiled a new mural at the Logan Recreation Center in Peoria’s Southside Wednesday.

The colorful mural was designed, planned and painted by 22 teenage interns in the Park District’s Workforce Development Program. It focuses on the themes of diversity, acceptance and community.

“Our focus is on diversity and community, and the ways that parks can bring people together and I think they’ve done an outstanding job of really embodying what parks can mean in neighborhoods in our community,” said Emily Cahill, executive director of Peoria Park District.

The program is made possible through a $1.3 million grant secured by State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, a state agency dedicated to improving the administration of criminal justice.

“This is a great example of the kinds of really cool things happening in Peoria with [Booth’s] support, and it’s also an opportunity for us to brighten up a park in a neighborhood where we’re excited to support,” said Cahill.

Cahill said the mural represents an investment in the community.

“It represents that opportunity to say there’s some really fantastic people here, there are some really cool things happening. Let’s take a moment to celebrate those, and then hopefully that has an impact on tomorrow,” she said.

Peoria Park District intern Alyse Thuente, 17, said the mural took four days to paint. She said she learned a lot about art and the experience will look great on her resume.

“It was great to learn about what goes on inside a mural. I’ve never done one before. Basically taught us how to work with paint, different concepts about art. It was a really good educational experience,” she said. “I think it’s going to be something unique that not a lot of colleges have seen… Not many teenagers get to make a mural.”

Two professional artists Peoria Guild of Black Artists (PGOBA) mentored the interns as they developed and painted the mural.

Antanysa Giles, 18, said it was life-changing to interact with local Black artists. She said she would love to participate in another mural.

“It was amazing. It was fun to see Black artists…because I didn’t know we had any in Peoria. They showed most of their things in Peoria they participated in, that was amazing because I didn’t know that,” she said.

Cahill said the interns made a lasting community impact through art.

“We hope that we have really built for them some pride. As they come past this mural, I hope they know how much it means to the people in this neighborhood, to our Park District, to our community,” she said.