As part of their semester work, the students participating in the class this year have begun a mural project, with the idea of painting a large drawing that would depict elements of Edcouch-Elsa’s history, culture and pride. An initial painting is being created on the walls of Llano Grande’s office in Edcouch-Elsa High School, with the hope that a larger-scale mural can then be painted on a large outside wall somewhere in the community.
The project was initiated earlier this spring semester after the Llano Grande students spent several weeks learning about the history of Edcouch-Elsa, and then hearing about murals from the Center’s interns Lucero Martinez and Norma Perez. Both Martinez and Perez are part of the University of Texas – Pan American’s Mexican American Studies program, and painted a mural in San Juan last year as part of their work.
Recognizing the need to share the important stories of our local history with the larger community, the students landed on the idea of a mural as a great way to not only do that, but to also beautify the community and further instill pride in our local stories. The students have scouted several possible locations for a mural in the community, but are really hoping to be able to paint the southern outside wall of the R.C. Rodriguez Elementary old gym, which faces Highway 107 and is in the middle of the community.
As part of the research for their work, the students learned about local history, discussed the importance of symbols in their work, and interviewed people in the community about the possibility for what the mural should include. Many people talked about their memories of local history, including the EE High School walkout of 1968, the citrus industry that once flourished here, and the railroad.
Painting has already begun on the smaller mural in Room A1 with the help of a donation of paint from Mr. David Cisneros who works with AkzoNobel. The goal is to have this smaller mural completed by the end of this school year, and a larger mural completed by the end of this calendar year.