Aldine ISD Students Help Create Public Art Mural at Beulah Shepard-Acres Homes Public Library
This is one of four community projects commissioned across Houston for Super Bowl 51.
The community recently dedicated the finished public mural at Beulah Shepard-Acres Homes Library. Many community leaders, families and media attended the event.
Aldine ISD students helped paint the pieces that formed part of the mural. The design is the concept of award-winning artist Reginald Charles Adams. The Acres Homes’ library is one of four locations selected by the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee. The other locations are Cuny Homes in Third Ward, the Breakfast Klub in Midtown and the Capitol Tower in downtown Houston.
You’ve likely seen Adams’ work. His commissions span 24 countries. He has also created about 200 works in the Houston area.
Houston City Council member Amanda Edwards and Ashley Turner, the mayor’s daughter, spearheaded the project sponsored by the Super Bowl Host Committee. The project sought to create collaborative public art. The emphasis was to have students and community members involved.
“I know the power and importance of public art,” said Edwards. “I wanted students involved in the citywide mural project to come to life. I knew that Reginald Adams and his team would be the perfect artist and group to carry out such an ambitious vision.”
Edwards is an Aldine ISD alumni. She graduated from Eisenhower High School. Edwards reached out to her former art teacher Dr. Michaelann Kelley to enlist the help of AISD students. Kelley is program director of fine arts.
The colorful 22-by-65-foot mural depicts hands sewing a patchwork quilt. It has one prominent word: Read.
“Read” highlights the importance of early literacy. The goal is to encourage Houstonians to help children learn to read at grade level.
Students and community volunteers attended Paint Day a week before the dedication. They heard Adams describe his inspiration for the design. The idea of the quilt represents the contributions of many people working together. It also reminds him of his grandmother. Adams related that the leadership of the Acres Homes community has a rich history of matriarchy. The mural illustrates a quilt that symbolizes a family heritage. The hands of the older matriarchs weave the powerful message to promote reading.
Adams took on the Super Bowl commission because it’s a grassroots community-based project. This truly was the contribution of many whose aged ranged from eight to 80. Adams designed the mural. But students and volunteers on Paint Day created colorful works on nylon fabric.
Many of the 75 completed pieces came from Aldine ISD students. They represented Eisenhower High School, Carver High School, Drew Academy and Houston Academy. Kelley was also present along with art educators Kaileigh Rosplohowski from Eisenhower HS, Laura Luna from Carver HS and Allison Hamacher from Drew Academy also accompanied Kelley.
Adams affixed the linen pieces to the aerosol painting.
“This is something that young people who took part will value for a long time,” said Adams. “They helped beautify their communities and the city. This mural will have a deeper meaning for them as they see their part in the artwork. That is what community-building is.”
Aside from Adams, Edwards and Ms. Turner, several local figures also attended the dedication held Jan. 28 at the library. Mayor Sylvester Turner spoke at the event. Turner was born and raised in Acres Homes where he resides. Aldine ISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Wanda Bamberg attended the event. Other guests included Hasting Steward, HSBHC executive vice president of public relations; and Dr. Rhea Lawson, director of the Houston Public Library.
Students that took part in the mural’s creation were also present. They looked to find their pieces in the artwork. One student, Ángel Treviño from Drew Academy said that it felt “amazing” to see his work on the wall. The 14-year-old hoped the mural’s message would encourage everyone to read.
Amazing work everyone!