New murals at Avondale YFD Center offer community a sense of hope

Muralist, street artist and illustrator Eric Finley, also known as “SEVEN.”

A new set of community driven mural designs was installed and finished at the Avondale Youth and Family Development (YFD) Center last week.

The murals–one on the outside of the building at 1305 Dodson Ave., and a 200-sq.-ft. mural on the inside of the center–were designed by street artist and illustrator Eric Finley, also known as “SEVEN.”

Anthony Byrd, Chattanooga city councilman for District 8, grew up in the Avondale community. He said the murals, which reflect the people who use the facility and live in the neighborhood, offer a sense of hope.

“It’s really something special that is going to enlighten the community,” Councilman Byrd said. “Once you pass by, you see love on the building. And on the inside, the murals inspire kids to reach new heights and dreams, and endless goals because they can picture it.”

The colorful exterior mural captures an entire family–including a mother, father and grandparents.

New murals at Avondale Youth and Family Development Center reflect the surrounding community.

The artwork inside the building showcases young people working in different professions.

The mural concept design was created based on input from the community obtained by Erika Roberts, Public Art Chattanooga creative strategist and outreach coordinator.

“The ‘love’ element was what stood out and influenced the design the most,” explained SEVEN. “I took all those community input ingredients and mixed them up to formulate the mural you now see. I tried to create a mural that was colorful and reflected the love of family, sports and varying dynamics of the family unit.”

Artwork inside the Avondale Youth and Family Development Center showcases young people working in different professions.

The design and implementation for the indoor art cost the city of Chattanooga $4,500, and the outside mural cost $20,000.

Along with other YFD centers across the city, the Avondale facility has been closed throughout the pandemic. Although some centers have been periodically used by the school district for virtual schooling needs.

The city opened the state of the art 23,000-sq.-ft. YFD center in the Avondale neighborhood in late 2019. It houses a full service library which contains a computer lab and MakerSpace–as well as a dance room, gym, classrooms and community room.

The city hopes to fully reopen the Avondale YFD Center in May.