Southeast High School senior Hannah Cass couldn’t believe it when she heard some adults don’t like Gallery Alley in the Haymarket.
Her high school friends really like the alley, and its artwork-covered building walls and special nighttime lighting are featured in many of her girlfriends’ Instagram pictures, she said.
So Cass and her friends in the Southeast High School Mayor’s Club have made Gallery Alley the focal point for a Friday night Haymarket Youth Festival.
The event, which will include artwork from high school students across the city, local bands and henna booths and ice cream, will begin at 6 p.m.
The students and Mayor Chris Beutler announced the event at a Wednesday morning news conference at Gallery Alley, which is between Seventh and Eighth streets, and leads from the Lumberworks parking garage to the Haymarket.
Beutler had to make his remarks twice, because airplanes overhead and beer trucks on the street drowned out his first try for radio and television microphones.
Some Lincoln residents and elected leaders have criticized Beutler for the $300,000 cost of the alley's artwork. The city also spent another $300,000 to repave and fix drainage problems with the alley.
The Friday night event is intended to create interest in Gallery Alley and make more people appreciate and use it, Cass said.
Cass created the Mayor’s Club two years ago to encourage her peers to find their passion and get involved in their community, Beutler said.
She approached the school administration and city officials about forming the Mayor’s Club. The club plans a project each year to highlight the community and raise awareness about issues important to young people.
Cass received financial support for the festival from Southeast High School and the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools through a new award meant to inspire community service, the Pay It Forward Service Project Award.