Cristian Miranda clutched a pen in his hand and leaned over a table covered in paper. Before long, a fantastical creature — fishlike, with large teeth — took shape on the white space.
The 20-year-old from Kennewick loves art, and he’s found a group of other young people who feel the same way. They’re part of the new One Peace, One World program, which aims to empower Tri-City youths to harness their talents and spread positive messages in the community.
The group’s first big undertaking is an art show next month in downtown Pasco.
“Everybody has the same interest — they’re trying to help out other teens, make the community better,” Miranda said. “It’s fun being part of it.”
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The program started a few months ago, and so far, about 18 youths have been attending the meetings, said Daisy Vargas, director.
Vargas is a paraeducator in the Kennewick School District and a youth service counselor at My Friends Place, the only teen homeless shelter in the Tri-City area. The group for now is holding its meetings at the shelter in Kennewick.
One Peace, One World is open to all local youths, and Vargas said her vision is that it will “provide (youths) with an outlet to make the changes they want to see in their community.”
She and other One Peace leaders are organizing a benefit concert in early June to raise money for the kits — with canvas and other supplies — that the young artists will use to create their pieces for the art show. The concert is from 5 to 9 p.m. June 6 at the Center for Sharing, 3525 E. A St., Pasco.
During an afternoon last week, about a dozen or so youths gathered for a One Peace meeting, sketching on large pieces of paper and decorating the collection jars that will be set up at Tri-City businesses as another fundraiser. Vargas asked each of them to talk about what art gives them.
Several said it lets them express themselves.
The group’s Melting Pot Art Show is June 29-30 at Peanuts Park in Pasco, next to the Farmers Market. Two local artists who are helping with One Peace — Josue Mira Montes and David Vasquez — are working toward unveiling a mural at the park during the show, Vargas said.
One Peace’s other leaders include Virginia Dickerson, Sergio Castaneda, Alex Ellis and Jordan Chaney, she said.
Vargas said she envisions the group taking on different projects — perhaps murals, videos, photography — that explore different themes and messages in the future.
She hopes to establish a permanent meeting place for the fledgling group.
At last week’s meeting, Miranda and his brother, Roven, 17, talked to the Herald about why they joined. Roven got into art in middle school and even attended a specialized high school in New York — the family moved to the Tri-Cities last summer — that taught web and graphic design.
Roven said he is learning from his new friends. “It’s actually pretty interesting to see lots of the different kind of art styles that they have, and to see the similarities and the differences you have from one another,” he said.
-- Online: onepeaceoneworld.webs.com, facebook.com/OnePeaceOneWorld.
-- Sara Schilling: 582-1529; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @saraTCHeraldȍ