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Students from Texans Can Academies - Fort Worth Lancaster Avenue partnered with members of the education team at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art to experience developing a work of art. The students and education team worked together to create a mural inside the school. 

Focused on deepening relationships in the community and expanding the reach of the museum, the education department at the Carter creates partnerships with local organizations and collaborates with local artists through their Carter Community Artist  initiative. Part of the vision for the Carter’s reach to expand beyond the walls of the museum includes an interest in local murals, which has recently manifested in collaboration with Fort Worth schools. 

Current Carter community Artist Sarah Ayala gave the students a tour of the museum focused on how artists use color, line, and shape to create an artwork and communicate ideas. Museum staff and participating students met to talk about design and brainstorm ideas for the mural. Sarah then incorporated the students’ ideas into a final design that was reflective of their vision, and the team worked together to sketch out and paint the mural on a prominent wall in the school’s cafeteria area. 

“The Carter is thinking about community outreach in a new way, going beyond participation in community events to collaborating with partners to creating meaningful experiences,” said Jessica Fuentes, Manager of School and Community Outreach at Amon Carter Museum of American Art. “The Texans Can Academies students who helped create this mural had the opportunity to learn new skills directly from a local artist while bringing their ideas to fruition on a large scale. This type of experience is bigger than the mural itself, as it helps students to have a sense that their voice matters, and provides a sense of belonging and community, while illustrating that art can be a powerful tool.”

The mural comprises rolling hills and a long and winding pathway traveling throughout a vast landscape. It is a bright, welcoming space within a zone where students regularly gather. Surrounding the doors of the school’s onsite daycare, the mural incorporates the importance of early literacy with the inclusion of two young children reading books. As the pathway winds into the mural’s foreground, it is paved in books titled with the names of various subjects studied by the students. Two students stand in the foreground, a young man and woman, both wearing a graduation cap and gown. Next to the woman is a road divider that lists some of the vocational pathways supported by Texans Can Academies. There are quotes in the clouds expressing some of the philosophies of the school, such as “Reading is the Key to Empowerment.”

“We are thrilled with how the mural has turned out and are appreciative to the Amon Carter Museum of American Art for giving our students the opportunity to be creative,” said Isabel Salazar, Principal of Texans Can Academy - Fort Worth Lancaster Avenue.

Texans Can Academies are a unique network of 14 charter schools located in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. The schools are tuition-free, open enrollment, public high schools of choice serving students who have struggled in a traditional high school setting. To date, more than 162,139 youth have been given a second chance at life with the opportunity to pursue their dreams. 

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