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

all.


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Marsha Wilson Rappaport is a Galveston resident who served a term as a

commissioner on the Texas Commission on the Arts.