Using Art to Get Children Involved in Super Bowl LI and Inspired Beyond the Game

Jo-Carolyn Goode | 1/20/2017, 11:42 a.m.
Just as the right paint and artist make a beautiful portrait, a sound partnership can project a beauty of its ...
City Councilwoman Amanda Edwards painting with children on one of the youth mural

Just as the right paint and artist make a beautiful portrait, a sound partnership can project a beauty of its own. In preparation for Super Bowl LI, the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee has joined with the City of Houston and artist Reginald Adams on a youth community arts project to inspire the creative expression of Houston’s children.

Evidence has shown how the introduction of the arts can enhance the productivity of a child. Art has been used as an outlet for children’s imagination, as a way to express pinned up emotions, and as therapy to aid in a child’s development. The benefits are endless. Art can also be one that brings about inclusiveness, engagement, empowerment and hope. Four murals being painted by Houston’s children will leave that impression on the young artists while giving them a sense of pride in their work and in their city.

Joining in on the fun with the children is Houston City Councilwoman Amanda Edwards. As a child, she was very interested in the arts and recognizes the important outlet it was in her own life for her creativity. She wanted other children to be able to thrive as she did as a result of having art as an influence, especially with the diminishing art programs from schools. Councilwoman Edwards said that we have to supplement what is lacking in schools with projects such as the youth murals. She also hopes that the murals help with the need to promote public art in Houston more. “What we have got to do is put it (the arts) on display and let the community take ownership of that,” she commented.

Four mural sites have been identified throughout Houston. The first has already taken shape at Cuney Homes. Having a theme of empowerment, the mural celebrates the legacies of Norris Wright Cuney, Diane Sheffield, and Louie Vincent. All of which were civic pioneers who worked to lead, mentor, empower and strengthen the Houston community. A second mural is planned for a wall on the side of the Breakfast Klub exhibiting Houston’s greatest athletes like Simone Biles, Carl Lewis, Zina Garrison, George Foreman, Earl Campbell, Hakeem Olajuwon and others. The third mural is a partnership with Houston’s First Daughter Ashley Turner in Acres Homes at the Shepard-Acres Homes Neighborhood Library. A theme has not yet be chosen for that site. And the last one will be in downtown Houston where an urban garden of geometric shapes and patterns will be created on the side of a parking garage at Rusk and Travis. This is the only mural that will not be painted by children due to liability issues of children painting that close to the streets of downtown Houston. However, the artwork still has the inspiration of Houston’s children, as they will help design the mural.

Councilwoman Edwards is really proud to be involved with a project that is inspiring and giving youth so much. “My favorite part of it is that of the butterfly and that it reminds me of where those kids are because they are getting ready to blossom into beautiful butterflies,” said Edwards as she referred to the Cuney Homes mural that she worked to create with youth.

Painting is not the only way Councilwoman Edwards is appealing to children through this youth project. She is also helping them use their voice through artistic expression and civic engagement. “When I talk to kids I usually ask them to do two things. One never to identify a problem that they are not going to be part of the solution to resolve,” said Councilwoman Edwards. It really is a mindset question to push children to look at the world around them to see all the challenges they have to address and make an impact. Edwards also speaks to children about the power they posse. “I talk to them a lot about my personal story and about how my personal story also ties to wanting to empower others.”

Councilwoman Edwards hopes that these murals will be a visual representation to Houston’s children of how relevant they are to the city. But more importantly that they personally know and appreciate the value of their own relevance.