Originally created 09/06/98

Young artists paint their vision of future



WASHINGTON -- An underwater city. An alien residing on Earth. A female president.

Armed with brushes and vivid imaginations, 50 young artists from across the nation painted a 16-by-24-foot mural Friday depicting their vision of America in the year 2000 and beyond.

The youths ages 8 to 12 gathered at the National Mall to complete the mural, which will displayed at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. Representing 30 states, Puerto Rico and Guam, the young artists were selected for their individual depictions of life in the new millennium.

"My major theme is about when there is no more racism," said Marcus Moore Jr. of Selma, Ala. Three detailed hands in different colors next show people learning to overcome differences. The 12-year-old, who is black, explained that "where I live now, they have a lot of racist people," but said he believes an end to racism is possible in the future.

Tanya Gonazalez of San Antonio also envisioned social change, painting bottles and cans to show people recycling.

She sees "people saving trees, saving sea life" in the future, said the 10-year-old.

On one panel, a woman sits with perfect posture in her chair, wearing small earrings and her hair in a bun. Above her reads: "Mrs. President." Carson Beyl, a second-grader from Washington Boro, Pa., drew the female commander in chief "because there's never been one and it makes me wonder why."

"We're just as good as men," she said.

Others offered a glimpse of a world altered by technology, from futuristic igloos with attached satellite dishes to space ships traveling beyond the solar system.

A brown figure with yellow hair and a red suit is an alien on Earth, explained its creator, 10-year-old Paige Rothrock. A blue circle near him represents a lake, because "he likes to go swimming," said Paige, of Hebron, Ind.

Camilla Cohen borrowed from television and science to paint her version of the future.

"In the future, we are going to make an underwater city," said the 12-year-old from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., swirling coats of blue and green paint on the surface. "I saw that on the Discovery Channel."

According to some of the young artists, history will repeat itself. Two long-haired figures clad in wide-legged pants hold hands in one of the panels. Asked about who the smiling pair living in 2000 is, Amanda Bailey of Bristol, Va., replied: "Hippies."