Viva Fall River

Noticing more art around Fall River? How these teens are transforming overlooked spaces

Aug 15, 2022 | Visit

FALL RIVER — It’s gotten quite a bit more colorful in Fall River, with vibrant murals adding life to various buildings, tunnels and more.

Young artists with YEAH Corps are getting in on the action, utilizing often-overlooked spaces as blank canvases to make their mark on the city.

On Wednessday, 15 teens gathered outside Fall River Superior Court to showcase their creativity with their latest project — jazzing up an electrical box on South Main and Borden with their unique designs.

The theme of their outdoor artwork at Superior Court was “justice,” and it was the group’s final of four similar projects completed over the course of the summer.

“The creativity of youth knows no limits,” said Susan Wolfson, founder of YEAH Corps and chair of the board. “It’s the freedom to just explore and branch out and know no boundaries.”

Where to see their artwork

And that’s certainly evident in their work — from their electrical box-turned-robot powered by hamsters at the intersection of Central and Davol streets to their out-of-this-world painting on a box near Cathy Assad Tot Lot in the Flint neighborhood.

“It’s youthful and it has an alien design … the kids really enjoy that,” Wolfson said.

Have you come across a large, cheerfully painted metal box near Government Center, at Sullivan Drive and Third Street? That was them, as well.

There, artists involved in YEAH Corps’ seven-week summer program — most ages 14-18 — “did a creative sketch expressing something about themselves or something about the city.”

What’s great about these projects is that they are a win-win for all involved, Wolfson said. For the city it helps beautify its public spaces and bolster the local arts scene.

“Everybody’s happy because the results are very uplifting,” said Wolfson, noting the group worked in tandem with the Fall River parks department and police department to secure the city spaces that became their canvases. “People are walking by and stopping and saying ‘this is wonderful.'”

It also gives these talented teens a chance to shine and builds community pride.

“When they are connected and doing something for the community they really feel strongly engaged,” she said. “I think this is a way to keep them connected as they mature to adulthood. They’ll know that they contributed and will keep wanting to be involved as good citizens.”

A jobs component

Equally important is the jobs component, which is at the core of YEAH Corps’ mission to empower teens and young adults to be “changemakers of their community” by giving them the know-how needed to be professional artists and connecting them with paying art projects.

Founded in 2017, the nonprofit works with teens and young adults from the Fall River area, with a focus on reaching low-income and at-risk youth.

Read more about these youth artists: