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'Everything starts somewhere': New initiative led by teens brings mural of Black excellence to Carmel

Posted at 10:48 AM, Jul 02, 2021

CARMEL — A picture of Black excellence is being painted in Carmel.

Right now, all you can see are lines. But when the mural is finished it's sure to brighten up Carmel.

"It started as a bedroom idea; we were hanging out. Never imagined where we would be now," Adell Urtel, a co-founder of "Be The Change Indy."

Be The Change Indy is a new initiative led by teenagers from Carmel.

"Last summer after the event across the nation, we felt inspired to take action," Urtel said.

This group met in high school and now they lead different lives, but the passion to pour into where they are from remains.

"You are not just a kid, you can do anything. Everything starts as an idea, everything starts somewhere," Urtel told WRTV.

These teenagers wanted to celebrate Black excellence and to educate their community in the process.

"Carmel is a diverse community and we like to celebrate that in our Arts and Design District and tourists," Henry Mestetsky, with the City of Carmel, said.

The city came along to fund the project. The teens found an artist and a space to bring the vision to life. In fact, a local business owner decided to let them use his building as a canvas and Israel Soloman used his palette to paint the picture.

"Just to see these young people wanting change and working towards it — it's promising," Soloman said.

This isn't his first project, but this one is making an impression.

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"I did a mural of George Floyd during the protests. I created a mural on boarded-up windows on Mass Ave on the Tucker Building," Soloman said.

Soloman is also one of the artists who took part in creating the Black Lives Matter mural on Indiana Avenue in downtown Indianapolis. He says each time he uses his paintbrush to paint for a purpose, he remembers the power of his pictures.

"I was one of the quiet kids that would stay in the black of the class, drawing, and doing things of that nature. I didn't imagine it would lead to these types of opportunities and having a voice and using that," he said.

The mural features Janet Jackson's iconic look from Rhythm Nation, Mike Epps, Madam CJ Walker, Kenneth "Baby Face" Edmonds, Tamika Catchings, and the owner of the wall's son, Spencer, who passed away, but his memory lives on through the mural.

It was a big vision, but the group is hoping through seeing this mural come to life, young people will be inspired to be the change they want to see in the community.