Canned goods mural by St Louis teens

Teens participating in Mural Can Construction Project in St Louis
Teens participating in Mural Can Construction Project in St Louis

ST LOUIS: Bal Vihar teens created a unique mural of canned goods that will be on display at the Saint Louis Science Center through Sunday, March 27.

These teens, representing four faiths (Hindu, Muslim, Jewish and Christian), have taken their inspiration from Jerusalem, a giant screen film currently showing at the Saint Louis Science Center’s OMNIMAX® Theater. The structure, requiring 1700 cans, is a bridge with supports representing the four faith groups being connected by concepts of interfaith cooperation to represent the theme of “Bridging the Gap though Conversation”.

For the third year in succession, the Center for Indian Cultural Education, Bal Vihar of St. Louis and Interfaith Quest have organized this collaborative project in partnership with the Saint Louis Science Center. “One reason we create projects like this at Bal Vihar is to teach our youth the value of community service and to create a sense of oneness within our community. We especially love projects that we can share with our interfaith friends,” said Shoba Shekar, Community Projects Coordinator at Bal Vihar.

“A CANstruction project allows local youth representing various faith groups, from different regions in the area to come together and build on their shared values. By partnering with the Saint Louis Science Center, we are able to share the energy and commitment this generation has for making the world a better place. Through the process of assembling the CANstruction, interfaith teens enhance team work and share interfaith conversations. With all the recent negative press around youth and religion, we are pleased to display hard work, harmony and interfaith understanding,” said Beth Damsgaard-Rodriguez, who heads Interfaith Quest.

When the structure is disassembled, the cans, purchased through the generosity of local faith communities, will be donated to Operation Food Search.
The Jerusalem-inspired mural will be on display through Sunday, March 27.

It is on the first floor of the Saint Louis Science Center’s main building, in the Human Adventure Gallery.
The mission of the Saint Louis Science Center is to ignite and sustain lifelong science and technology learning. It is one of the top 15 science centers worldwide and was named one of the “Top 10 Science Centers for Families” by Parents magazine. The Saint Louis Science Center complex includes a four-story OMNIMAX® Theater, Boeing Hall and the James S. McDonnell Planetarium.

Kids have expressed their views in a positive manner. A Bal Vihar teen said, “Before tonight, I didn’t think I could really talk about my faith, but I realized that I knew more than I thought I did and could really explain it.”YES Teen ”

I thought this was going to be boring, but it was really fun!!”Seventh-Day Adventist Teen.

“I’m usually shy and don’t talk in public, but it was so much fun to share with everyone” said one.
Other Teens: “I have a different perspective of the Science Center now. I really like that they were willing to do this for us so people can see that this much diversity can get along.”

“I didn’t know they did things besides science, like they really want to do things in the community, too.”

Center for Indian Cultural Education – Bal Vihar of St. Louis is a cultural school designed to promote, instill, and foster Indian culture in children ages 5 and above. Bal Vihar encourages the youth group (ages 13 an above) to participate in activities that promote respect and understanding of different cultures and religion. Bal Vihar has been in existence since 1992 and its current enrollment is over 400 students.

Ashwin Patel

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