Speaking directly to the youth of the Boys and Girls Club, N Carlos Jay portrays children of color in forward growth and happiness through the various forms of love. In the artist's words, “Showing our love for each other in public ways tells the world that we are a people of happiness and joy. We are the change through love. By living our lives boldly, we are sharing our culture and traditions with the communities we live in. Teaching our children through the music we listen to, the foods we eat, the way we celebrate holidays, and telling family stories passes down great value and lets our own children know that we are a part of the radical change our ancestors hoped for.”

In Jay’s illustrative narrative, parents are signified as flowers, butterflies signify our children and pollen signifies love. Butterflies depend on flowers for food while flowers depend on butterflies to reproduce. Butterflies help flowers reproduce by spreading pollen from one flower to another. As the butterfly feeds, it picks up pollen from one flower and deposits it on another flower. The blackbirds signify family and bonding while food signifies love. Blackbirds congregate for food and protection. While some birds migrate alone, blackbirds find strength in numbers and they cooperate to find food (or love in this case).

Referencing Burlington’s multi-racial community, Jay incorporates different shades of black people within the design to further connect with his young audience.

Commissioned by Burlington City Arts and the Office of Racial Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Juneteenth 2022

N Carlos Jay
A mural mounted on a low, cement building that depicts dark skinned adolescent boys and girls, outlined in vibrant colors against a bright blue sky background with large, stylized orange, pink and red flowers