Strokes of Inspiration: The Chicago Artist Igniting Teen Creativity 

Eric “Roho” Garcia, an After School Matters instructor and well-known Chicago muralist, has been making his mark on the city and the lives of teens for more than a decade, inspiring the next generation of artists to tap into their creativity and find their voices.

Roho has mentored hundreds of ASM teens, working with them to create more than ten murals in partnership with organizations like Lollapalooza, Hire360, and NASCAR. The NASCAR piece, created for the street race in Chicago this past summer, was the largest mural he’s made at 200 feet. Recently, he beautified the annex of our Michael and Karen Lutz Center in Belmont Cragin with murals highlighting teens participating in various Lutz programs.

As a kid, Roho’s love for art was ignited by Hip Hop culture and graffiti artists. He then discovered Portraiture art and, by high school, became a mural artist. Roho began creating colorful murals for restaurants and family homes and slowly graduated towards large street art installations, transforming city blocks into open-air galleries. He’s worked on over 50 murals throughout Chicago, the suburbs, and a few in St. Louis. In 2024, he will take his talent to San Luis Potosí, Mexico, creating murals to decorate the streets and brighten the communities.

Some teens who have participated in Roho’s programs have never picked up a paintbrush before, and by the end of their program, they are experienced painters who are confident in their skills and themselves. The impact of Roho’s work extends far beyond the murals. By inspiring teens to explore their creativity, he has given them the tools to navigate the challenges they may face at home, school, and neighborhoods, painting brighter futures for themselves.

Please take a peek at some of the murals Roho has created over the years with our teens.