ARLINGTON - A mural painted in UT Arlington colors and featuring college logos and a UT Arlington basketball player is taking shape in the teen room at the Arlington Boys and Girls Club on North Elm Street. It is expected to be finished by the end of June.
Antonina Doescher (left) and Sharon Miller (right), both seniors at UT Arlington, are in front in the group shot.
Art students from The University of Texas at Arlington designed the mural, which celebrates higher education, with club members. Project leader Sharon Miller, a UT Arlington senior, calls the mural a true group effort involving University art students, the Boys and Girls Club staff and teens who are doing the painting.
"Their faces really lit up when the color started to go up on the background and they began to paint the college logos," Miller said. "One of the boys wanted to skip his lunch to finish the logo he had started. Another teen said he felt a real sense of accomplishment and couldn't wait to go home and show his mom his paint-splattered shirt to prove it."
Miller said UT Arlington is the focal point, but the teens were encouraged to include the colleges they hope to attend some day. Most are in Texas, but Stanford, Penn State and other national universities also are depicted.
Arlington Boys & Girls Club member Ambriehl Higgins.
The project grew from Michael Clark's determination that the teens he meets as branch director of the Elm Street Boys and Girls Club know that college can be in their future. He starts by pointing them to The University of Texas at Arlington, just a mile north of the club.
"We have this University, a great school that offers degrees in many subjects," Clark said, "but many of the kids have never even seen it."
About a year ago, Clark visited the UT Arlington campus to ask for banners, posters and anything else he might display in the club's teen room to raise awareness of the University. Gayonne Quick, associate director of UT Arlington admissions, was eager to help him spread the word about the university. Campus tours and admissions presentations at the club followed and evolved into the mural project.
"These guys and girls are soaking up this experience like a sponge. They are really taking ownership of it, and that alone is a real accomplishment," Miller said.
Marilyn Jolly, associate professor of art and art history, said she hopes the project will empower the student apprentices to use their new skills to paint other walls in the club.
To learn more about the Arlington Boys and Girls Club, go to www.bgcarltx.org or call 817-265-7211. Visit www.uta.edu/art for information on the Department of Art and Art History.
The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.