Painting the town

Art students panels to be displayed downtown

Story by Victoria Van, editor in chief

Texarkana our community: exploring our identity through architecture. This is the theme that painting students utilized for downtown’s art gallery. Texarkana’s Regional Arts and Humanities Council asked art students to participate in their art installment series Art Smart. Every few months, artists or other community members are selected to contribute to the interchanging art wall.

“I challenged students to think critically about buildings, places and spaces in Texarkana that contain personal significance to them,” painting teacher Shea Phillips said. “My students had to get creative and think about the architectural beauty around them. I wanted to make sure everyone had creative freedom.”

Although there were design challenges concerning the orientation of the vertical panels, students were able to find their own personal connection whether it was a childhood memory or favorite place in town.

It’s something that people drive by when they’re in downtown and feel the love of Texarkana that we feel from it,” sophomore Julia Ryden said. “These paintings are supposed to be a big culmination of what we find important in Texarkana. I did a view from Bringle Lake because I have good experiences from whenever I would go there with my family or biking with my brother.”

Some participants ventured downtown and took their own photos.

“I decided to paint the sign from Buhrman Pharr Hardware Co.,” junior Shelby Steele said. “It was an abandoned building for a while until it got turned into loft apartments. I thought it held significance because it’s part of the rebuilding of downtown and overall beautifying of it.”

Working on the project helped students sharpen their painting skills as well as gain a closer connection to the town people have lived in all of their lives.

I think they’ve really enjoyed collaborating on a community project,” Phillips said. “It’s something special that they get to do that nobody else does, and it’s going to be neat to see these displays downtown. The students will be able to take their families to see the work that they created.”