Juneteenth mural also encourages youth to be involved
Marsha Wilson Rappaport | The Galveston Daily News | April 2, 2021
The spectacular mural being created by artist Reginald C. Adams and
his team on 22nd and Strand streets has a hidden benefit. Thanks to a
grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts, five youth are able to
work as “artist apprentices.”
This opportunity of a lifetime will permanently provide positive
reinforcement for a budding young female African American artist who
has already had her art grace the cover of the magazine Culture Clash.
Another young African American youngster is just getting his feet wet
in the world of art.
Three of these young people are residents of a transitional housing
program at The Children’s Center. Their lives, like the lives of their
peers, reflect some of the harshest truths about youth homelessness in
the United States.
According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation: Each year, about 26,000
young people age out of foster care in the United States. Among former
foster youth with known outcomes, 36 percent reported at least one
episode of homelessness, according to a recent study.
These young people, who benefited from a grant to The Children’s
Center from the Texas Commission on the Arts, will never forget the
feeling of being homeless. But now that their lives have been
stabilized and they have a roof over their heads and meals on the
table, this project provides much-needed hope.
As they work with Adams, an accomplished African American man, they’re
seeing that a person of color can succeed as a working artist.
The pandemic and economic fallout during the past year have taken a
serious toll on the mental health of adults and children. According to
Art & Creativity for Healing: “We believe art can be a healthy,
powerful tool to cope with emotions.”
Additionally, the creation of this historic mural has quickly grown
into a source of pride for the Galveston community and can therefore
serve as a powerful healing tool for a community under pressure.
The youth in this project worked with Adams and his creative team that
includes Samson Adenugba, Joshua Bennett, KaDavien Baylor, Dantrel
Boon and Cherry Meekins. This project was the brainchild of Samuel
Collins III and Sheridan Mitchell Lorenz as a project developed by
their Juneteenth Mural Committee, which includes Hank Thierry.
All Galveston residents can benefit from driving to 2211 Strand and
watching the artists perched high on cranes while painting the
5,000-square-foot side of a building. The artwork is spectacular and
the shared experience promotes healing and a sense of unity for us
Marsha Wilson Rappaport is a Galveston resident who served a term as a
commissioner on the Texas Commission on the Arts.