OLD SAYBROOK, Conn (WTNH) — “I never thought I was actually going to make something this big,” said Nick Chacha.
He is referring to a new mural tucked away on the side of a building in downtown Old Saybrook.
“‘Just a Piece of Freedom’, it’s from a painting I did and my teachers really loved it,” he said.
Not only that but there’s also a documentary that people can watch that explains it all. This major project is all spearheaded by teenagers.
“The mural itself is a piece to represent the diversity in Old Saybrook,” said Matt Johnson.
Johnson is the person who made the documentary detailing the creation of the mural founded by Chacha, whose family comes from Ecuador.
“We used to move around a lot but coming here to Old Saybrook we found a nice environment that my parents really loved,” Chacha explained.
So, with help from teachers, a professional muralist was hired and students were chosen to represent diversity.
“Everybody has their piece of freedom and that’s what we should be looking at, rather than their race and color of their skin,” said Chacha.
He worked with other students to map out and paint poignant images like a butterfly.
“It represents the migration of immigrants,” said Johnson, who also snapped the photos that became the basis for the mural.
The students said they felt support from the community.
“Every day people would come by, stop by, talk to us,” recalled Chacha.
The mural and documentary are tangible, visual tools created by future leaders to spark important discussions.
For Chacha, this is just the beginning.
“I’m just really proud, every time I pass by, it’s just something amazing that I can’t believe,” he said, noting he wants to be an artist in the future.
Chacha is returning to Old Saybrook High School as a senior, and Johnson is starting at UConn this week where he plans to make more documentaries.