NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - In Nacogdoches, several young girls who are members of the Boys and Girls Club of Deep East Texas saw for the first time a mural they each helped create. The online collaboration taught them how art can send powerful messages, no matter how its created.
The reveal, Tuesday evening, left four young artists speechless at the Judy McDonald Public Library.
“Go ahead and look at it. You should be so proud,” prompted Dr. Maggie Leysath, a professor of art education at SFA.
The girls approach the mural with hand over mouth and slowly began expressing words of pleasure.
For weeks in the midst of a pandemic, the girls would separately meet online with SFA art education mentors.
“Each child was given a section of mural,” explained Alexis Lundey, an SFA senior art student.
“I would just be telling her techniques of like what to paint and how to make the colors blend,” recalled Rachel Blacklock, a senior education student at SFA.
The Community Arts Center of East Texas funded the project. Member Jane Webb Childress wanted the students to learn about intercultural harmony.
" We asked them to express what that feels like for them," said Childress.
"So, we were not just painting a mural, we were talking about social issues, said Leysath. “How can people from different cultures find harmony?”
“We gave them a topic and then they made a whole list of buzz words of what they thought about those things and they brought them to their sessions,” recalled Victoria Thompson, a unit director at the Boys and Girls Club in Nacogdoches. “They were so involved.”
And when the mural came together, so did friends to share an experience.
“I don’t paint a lot, but then I looked at it and it’s really pretty,” said 13-year old Alyssa Caballero.
“I really like the painting. I think I did very good on it,” said confident 11-year old Queen Driver.
“It’s amazing. It’s pretty and I feel proud of myself and everybody else,” expressed 12-year old Stephanie Tabor.
“I feel good about it,” said Leah Martin.
Keep in mind the girls worked separately, not knowing what the other was painting. Clearly, peace is their wish as several panels used the word.
Jayla Redwine, 12, wrapped it up this way.
“Even though our paintings are different and that we are all different, the painting makes us think and remember that we are all the same at the end of the day.”
The mural is on loan at the Nacogdoches Public Library. In June it will be at the Cole Art Center in downtown Nacogdoches for a Boys and Girls Club Art Show. After that, the mural is likely to be shared many places.