downtown mural (copy)

The “1,000 Hopes For Waco” mural off University Parks Drive in downtown Waco, seen here at its completion last month, will have a public dedication on Tuesday.

Participants and supporters of the “1,000 Hopes For Waco” mural at 315 S. University Parks Drive will meet Tuesday to celebrate the project and start a hope of their own: a push on social media with the mural as backdrop for 1,000 selfies.

The mural, an image of colorful folded-paper cranes taking flight, was the end product of ArtPrenticeship, an eight-week business-school-community collaboration intended to give high school students a sense of the professional and commercial side of art.

Ten University and Waco High School students worked with professional artists, building owners, construction companies and city professionals to design and paint the side of a downtown Waco building, getting paid in the process.

University High senior Lizbeth Duarte, who plans on attending Tuesday’s dedication, said she learned the importance of planning in translating a design to a wall painting and determining what supplies would be needed to accomplish that.

“I also learned how to handle criticism. Whenever I’m nice to everybody, I get that back, but when you’re doing something for a client, it’s how the client wants it,” said the 17-year-old student.

Duarte is in University High’s criminal justice sequence, attracted by the possibility of using her interest in drawing in such applications as forensics. The summer ArtPrenticeship project showed her the work and planning that professional art demands and how to set goals and reach them.

“To me, anything is possible as long as you believe you can,” she said.

Tuesday’s dedication will feature entertainment and refreshments plus recognition of students; representatives of collaborators Waco Independent School District, Prosper Waco and arts nonprofit Creative Waco; downtown developer and building owner Shane Turner; Mitchell Construction Co.; Langerman Foster Engineering Co.; city project manager Stefani Wheat-Johnson; artists Will Suarez, Megan Major, Cade Kegerreis and Sean Oswald; and others.

The dedication also aims at extending the reach of the mural, both through social media and the possibility of more mural projects.

“There’s pretty universal agreement that this was a successful pilot and we want to do it again,” said Creative Waco executive director Fiona Bond. “We have heard from so many people.”

With the student participants taking the lead, the “1,000 Hopes For Waco” mural will have a corresponding social media hashtag, #1000hopesforWaco, and pages on Facebook and Instagram where people will be encouraged to post pictures of themselves holding an origami crane — the painting’s central symbol — in front of the mural.

In origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, cranes symbolize hope and Bond noted that origami and its history also suggest the transmission of a skill from generation to generation.

The young people in those pictures, Bond explained, are part of the hopes for Waco. “It’s a way of expressing hope in the young people of our community, that we believe in them,” she said.

Tribune-Herald entertainment editor

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