Youth Artist

Kevin Rijo

I first started at Groundswell with the “Bridges” mural in Harlem. At first, it was just an approach on expression at a time in my life where I was like how am I going to express how I’m feeling with politics, my future, and my growing self. Having an opportunity to get a job, make money and express yourself, I saw the perfect opportunity here. 

Groundswell is a safe space for me as a teenager, it’s a place where you can express yourself with whatever it may be, it's your getaway. This is the city of dreams and I feel like you can sit on a cloud here. Whoever is looking for a place to be comfortable I would recommend Groundswell; their drive is to help you. 

Kevin Rijo showing his artwork.
For students that are graduating high school, you should go to college. One thing I was thinking when I graduated was 'forget college, I don’t want to do it, I’m going to be an artist.' I was heavily inspired by Jean-Michel Basquiat, I was like 'I’m going to do this myself, I don’t need college'. But it doesn’t work like that, we live in different times. Me and Francisco had a lot of conversations about it, he told me to do what you need to do. He helped me put down that foundation. He told me to get things straight and he let me know that college is something I need to do right now. It’s not about the money, its also about your name, and that builds with college, you get experience that builds you. That’s what I learned from Francisco, and I’m still learning.  

Everybody here is family, it’s all family. Carpe diem, that means to seize the day, that’s what I feel like happens here. I feel like we’re always seizing the day here. 




In Harlem, a team of young artists engaged local elders through the creation of a mural that has transformed the entrance to the Saint Nicholas Houses Senior Citizens Center. Their mural, Bridges, brought together different generations to inspire new perspectives on technology, community engagement, and youth activism.


Sin Armas Sin Odio

At PS 54 in the Bronx, a team of students created a mural to teach that they can live peacefully if everyone respects and values one another regardless of their differences. With this in mind, the ...


Diaspora Arts

Turnaround Arts students and staff celebrated the Afro-Caribbean diaspora in a mural. Painted on the schools auditorium stage, Diaspora Arts will be used as a backdrop for a variety of eve...


The Spirit of SoHo

The Spirit of SoHo is a 4,000 square foot mural that scales Aby Rosens latest hotels south-facing wall, designed to celebrate the history and culture of SoHo. SoHo is a diverse metropol...


Hit The Brakes on DWI and Choose The Right Path

As Vision Zero gains momentum, Groundswell teen muralists collaborated with the New York City Department of Transportation and Food Bazaar Supermarket to educate New Yorkers about the prevention ...

Sharpening skills for successful futures.


Portfolio Development is a rigorous afterschool program for youth interested in creating a dynamic portfolio for college admission and scholarships.

Youth Bio - Kevin Rijo