Public Art Youth Council

For their 2020 project "The Missing Unicorn," members of the Cambridge Arts Public Art Youth Council chalk-paint "You are entering the presence of a unicorn" on a park path.

Missing Unicorn

“The Missing Unicorn” is the 2020 summer art project from Public Art Youth Council from Cambridge Arts, part of the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program.

This summer’s participants were Kamya Beckford, Jessica Elysse, Lia Jn-leys, Daniel Panariti, Josiah Pizarro, Andre Williams and Pranawa Phuyal.

They put up fliers announcing “Unicorn Sightings” inviting visitors to discover unicorn hoofprints (painted in chalk on paths), hair, horns and droppings at Cambridge’s Greene-Rose Heritage Park, Sennott Park and Danehy Park. Visitors to the parks discovered the words "You are entering the presence of a unicorn" painted in chalk on paths.

“The purpose of this project is to bring joy to someone’s day using something that is unrealistic, magical and out of the ordinary,” the teens wrote. “Unicorns are known for having healing properties, and in the time of COVID-19, we hope that this project will help people stop thinking about the bad even for just a second.”

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About the Program

The Cambridge Arts Public Art Youth Council (PAYC) brings together teens to represent Cambridge’s diverse neighborhoods as ambassadors for public art. PAYC members are recruited and hired to work under the guidance of Public Art Program staff to create activities and events that invite their peers to deepen their understanding of and engagement with public art. 

The Public Art Youth Council brings the unique voice of Cambridge youth to the City’s Public Art Program, giving youth authorship over the programs that Cambridge Arts offers to young audiences. Cambridge Arts has created a programmatic framework and set benchmark goals to facilitate creative problem solving, artistic exploration, collaboration, innovation, and opportunities for PAYC to act as creative leaders within their community and among their peers.

Each session, PAYC participants develop their thinking about public art through site visits, discussions, and attendance at Cambridge Arts events. The PAYC identifies at least one project for their session and then plans, implements, and evaluates that project through completion.