A new mural created by WMCAT teens in partnership with House of Style won the 2016 Neighborhood Business Award for Best Business Promotion. If you have an idea for a public art partnership, contact Trudy or fill out this propose a project.
House of Style is a decades-old, family-owned business in the Burton Heights Business District of Grand Rapids. Despite its long-standing reputation as an anchor business in their neighborhood, owner Debra Reece saw a need to increase visibility. How could House of Style celebrate their important place in the neighborhood, promote their expertise in hair care, styling and fashion, and increase visibility to potential customers?
Through Neighborhood Ventures, House of Style was connected with our innovative teen arts program. Three advanced illustration teen students, under the guidance of Professional Teaching artist and local muralist George Eberhardt, created and installed an original mural on two panels at the rear entrance of the store adjacent to a popular public parking lot.
WMCAT Teen Artists Daniel Cornejo, a senior at Union High School; Railyn Eaddy, a sophomore at Grand Rapids Montessori; and John Newton, a junior at Ottawa Hills, began their design process by interviewing Debra. She told them it was important that the mural include a woman with natural hair and children to represent the future. The three teens drew several individual sketches, then combined their ideas into a final drawing. Railyn’s ideas and sketches served as the predominant theme and idea.
Over three work days the teens and George transformed their final sketch into a full-scale mural. For the three teens this was their second mural project with WMCAT (they were all on the team that created a mural at Wilcox Park in summer 2016). “We were building upon what we learned with the Wilcox Park project,” said Daniel, who enjoyed the challenge of working with spray paint as opposed to his usual medium of ink and pencil.
“I liked seeing how a sketch is turned into something bigger,” said Railyn.