BR organization paints mural to make a change

BR organization paints mural to make a change
Photo provided by staff.

POSTED: Saturday, February 8, 2014 - 5:57pm

UPDATED: Saturday, February 8, 2014 - 6:43pm

Some of you might notice something a little different yet colorful if you pass by Saia Park on N. Donmoor off Florida Blvd. It's a mural, and it's purpose is to help bring life back into a 70815 neighborhood. That's all thanks to a local organization wanting to make a change.

Old fences and cracked sidewalks are what most people notice when they pass by an area which neighbors call "Mall City." But decades before, people knew it by a different name.

"We are basically taking the arts to the streets in Melrose East with passion and instilling pride and purpose back into the neighborhood," Evelyn Ware-Jackson said.

That's why Jackson and her team of volunteers are lined with brushes and colorful paint to bring "life" back into this neighborhood.

"We can get the kids in the neighborhood to understand and take pride in their neighborhood," Jackson said.

Jackson is the director of the Red Stick Project. With a grant from the mayor's office and community support, her team's able to do this, and in turn help bring awareness to some major problems in the community.

"It's going to reduce crime and basically instill pride," Jackson said.

Jackson called in Fannie Brown, a teacher at Glen Oaks Park Elementary, to help lead and educate the volunteers.

"The artists' work whose on the wall are those of the names these streets are named after, and a lot of the citizens and people of the community never really paid attention," Brown said.

Artists names like Monet and Seurat.

"I'm hoping that they will just stop, look, slow up and wonder what is this all about," Brown said.

Even though Brown has an art background, she said she couldn't do this without the help from Elliott Guillory, a local artist who helped make their vision a reality.

"Just to get out here and do something to help and hand-paint something," Guillory said. "It's like a miracle."

For some of the younger volunteers, it teaches them not just about the community, but about themselves.

"That everybody can do something and know you don't have to just stay basic like everybody else," Calvin Hills said. "You can go further than the sky because the sky's not the limit."

"It brings hope that Melrose East can come back and reclaim its community," Tatyana Hills said.

Even though volunteers spent countless hours painting the mural, they're not finished. The Red Stick Project plans to take it's efforts into other parts of the community needing to be spruced up.

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