Painting a difference

Students and faculty help add to the longest collaborative art mural in Memphis


Photo: Elle Vaughn

The sketch for the mural is shown on a piece of paper. Students and faculty helped recreate this sketch as a mural during MLK day.

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., St. George’s stresses the importance of honoring MLK’s memory on MLK Day through service to the community or, what many call, a “day-on.” Because of this, members of the St. George’s community are encouraged to volunteer for one of the suggested service opportunities including Manna House, food packaging, making care packages for first responders, trailblazing and painting a collaborative art mural in downtown Memphis.

The collaborative art mural students worked on stretches 0.3 miles long along the Chelsea flood wall and is the longest collaborative art mural in Memphis. Around 15 students from St. George’s came to help out with the mural, including senior Elle Vaughn. Vaughn has been recognized for her art in many competitions including the Scholastic Art Awards, in which she received an Honorable Mention. Vaughn and senior Annie Vento drew up the design for the wall. Middle and upper school art teacher Ms. Webb was a chaperone for the project but believed a lot of the leadership fell to student leaders.

I was super excited to be the ‘teacher presence’ on this because I thought it was so great that our students wanted to step outside their own neighborhoods to make a difference in a section of town that really needs it,” Ms. Webb said.

While painting the mural, students could hear ‘thank you’ being shouted from passing cars.

“I’m glad we could make the mural more cheerful and the people who lived near by thought so too considering the numerous ‘thank yous’ we received,” sophomore Danielle Chandler said.

Two cars actually stopped at the mural to ask if the students were interested in painting additional murals for a nearby businesses.

Unfortunately, the students were unable to finish the mural due to weather conditions, but another trip is currently being planned to return and finish it.

“My hope for the mural is that it inspires our students and others in the community to venture out of our social bubbles, show some love and make beautiful spaces that impact our city in positive ways,” Ms. Webb said.