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 has 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 one that promotes healing and a sense of unity for us all.

You can also view the work in progress via webcam on FaceBook.

Marsha Wilson Rappaport is a Galveston resident who served a term as a commissioner on the Texas Commission on the Arts.

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(4) comments

Bailey Jones

[thumbup]

Thomas Carpenter

You're right Ms. Rappaport, I passed by there today and the work looks fantastic.

Samuel Collins III

Great article Marsha. Thanks for your help and for sharing this information.

Edward Cotham

[thumbup]

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