CREATIVE PLACEMAKING INITIATIVE: Magnolia Park Mural Project 2022

Creative Placemaking Initiative: Magnolia Park mural project 

November 2022

With the support of Port Houston, Fresh Arts piloted a creative placemaking initiative that aims to provide public art education and support for emerging muralists and expand access to public art opportunities for Houston’s oldest neighborhoods through a community-centered mural project.

As part of the professional development process, Fresh Arts worked with local artists to develop public art curriculum including a downloadable “Mural Making” resource toolkit by Patty Barrera, a 3-part virtual workshop, and a “Muralists in the Making” panel discussion featuring Houston-based artists Hannah Bull, David Maldonado, Jesse E. Rodriguez, Caroline Truong, and Patty Barrera.

Fresh Arts completed this year-long initiative by working closely with local artist and community advocate, Jesse E. Rodriguez, and other dedicated community partners to bring a new mural to Edison Middle School in East End neighborhood of Magnolia Park. The community-driven mural, designed and painted by Jose Arredondo, aka “Meenr“, honors the 100-year legacy of Edison Middle School and celebrates the rich culture and history of Magnolia Park, one of the oldest Hispanic neighborhoods in the City of Houston.  A community celebration and mural unveiling was hosted on Saturday, November 5, 2022 to a crowd of nearly 100 attendees including Edison students and alumni, longtime residents, city officials, and State Representative Ana Hernandez. 

The massive mural which spans 150 feet is located on the west wing of Edison Middle School and faces S/Sgt Macario Garcia Drive. Local artist Jose Arredondo, aka “Meenr“, designed the mural with a community-centered approach. Jesse E. Rodriguez, aka Magnolia Grown, facilitated a month-long series of public meetings and school visits with direct input from students, parents, faculty, school alumni, and other residents. Edison’s art instructor, Gerard Caliste, worked with the artist and middle schoolers to provide inspiration for the mural through in class curriculum and artist talks.

Edison, the only HISD middle school in Magnolia Park, was first built in 1925 and has served as an important anchor to the neighborhood for almost 100 years spanning generations of Magnolia Park residents. The mural includes depictions of Edison art students, neighborhood landmarks, and symbols of the community’s past, present, and future.

The Magnolia Park Legacy mural is a collaborative project of Fresh Arts and Magnolia Park Arts & Community (MPAC) and is made possible through the generous support of Port Houston’s Community Grants Program, a community outreach initiative focused on investing resources into meaningful projects and programs that enhance local communities.

Edison Middle School is located at 6901 Avenue I, Houston, TX 77011.

If you are interested in expanding this creative placemaking initiative to other Houston neighborhoods:  contact angela@fresharts.org


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Thank you to Edison Middle School principal Alesander Olaizola, Edison art teacher Gerard Caliste, Karen Wolfe and JoAnn Rodriguez of MPAC for their support and program partnership.

ABOUT FRESH ARTS

Fresh Arts is a nonprofit organization that empowers local artists through programs that build knowledge, amplify resources and connect communities. www.fresharts.org @freshartsorg

ABOUT MAGNOLIA PARK ARTS & COMMUNITY

Magnolia Park Arts & Community (MPAC) is a grassroots nonprofit founded by artist Jesse E. Rodriguez to engage the underserved Latino community of Magnolia Park, Houston, by providing inclusive arts and culture programs and community support. www.magnoliaparkarts.org@magparkarts

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Jose Arredondo (known as MEENR) is a multi-disciplinary artist who specializes in large-scale murals and fine art paintings. Born in Mexico and raised in Houston, he gathers inspiration from local culture, his Mexican heritage, and his world travels. For more than 20 years, MEENR has worked as a full-time artist in Texas, but his projects span the nation. His art is represented in private collections and his commercial clients for his mural projects include the NFL, RedBull, Kroger, and KHOU-TV.  Instagram @Meenr_One 

MURAL UNVEILING PHOTOS BY J. ANDRADE PHOTOGRAPHY

https://www.flickr.com/photos/spacetaker/albums/72177720303689228/with/52500039155/