Creative Arts Center Partners with Dallas Arts District and Local High School to Paint a New Mural

by Jessica Fuentes April 29, 2022

The Creative Arts Center (CAC) of Dallas has partnered with the Dallas Arts District (DAD) Foundation and Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts to create a mural inspired by the Octavio Medellín exhibition currently on view at the Dallas Museum of art

Fred Villanueva, a Booker T. alumni who sits on the school’s Arts Advisory Council, will paint the mural with assistance from a group of current Booker T. students. In preparation for the painting, the students took a tour of the DMA exhibition led by Mark Castro, the Jorge Baldor Curator of Latin American Art. Mr. Villanueva and the students’ design for the mural is inspired by a concept drawing by Mr. Medellín for a project that was never actualized. The drawing, which dates to the 1980s, was for a proposed mosaic for the Jaycee Park Recreation Building (now named Jaycee-Zaragoza Park) in Dallas. 

A drawing by Octavio Medellín of abstracted people engaging in recreation activities such as volleyball and diving. The artwork is rendered in pastel colors and was a study for a mosaic mural which never came to fruition.

Octavio Medellín, “Proposed Mosaic Mural, Jaycee Park Recreation Building, City of Dallas,” c. 1980-1987, drawing on paper, 18.5 x 35.5 inches. SMU Libraries, Bywaters Special Collections, Southern Methodist University.

In a press release announcing the mural project, Mr. Villanueva stated, “I was drawn to this particular piece of Octavio Medellín’s for two reasons: Firstly, I know and have worked with the Latino and Youth Community at this Rec Center for which it was intended (Jaycee-Zaragoza in Oak Cliff), and secondly, because it is an unrealized masterpiece which draws on the heritage of Mexican Muralism and the great WPA era projects of the 1930’s, that tumultuous time when there was a Federal movement to bolster public art and artists.”

He continued, “Medellín’s design revives that in the 1980s! My hope is to create a piece inspired by Medellín as a tribute to his legacy, but also an inspired exercise by encouraging the next generation of young Dallas artists to claim their space in art history.”

Diana Pollak, CAC’s Executive Director, explained that the mural was funded by the DAD Foundation to connect Booker T. students to the life and legacy of Mr. Medellín. Ms. Pollack remarked, “As an artist and educator, he was unparalleled, and I think he would be incredibly proud to see how these young people will be interpreting his work in their own way.”

The mural will be painted on concrete steps across from the Moody Performance Hall and the AT&T Performing Arts Center. Painting will begin Friday, April 29 as part of the DAD Changing Perspectives Block Party.

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