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Associated Press: Artist Asks Student Ideas for New Orleans Mural

Jessica Strahan

A New Orleans artist is asking students to help with ideas for a mural on the wall around a school.

Jessica Strahan will paint the mural as part of the Unframed collection started last year in the city’s Arts District.

It will be part of her “You Are What You Eat” series of portraits in which up to half of a person’s face is covered by a fruit that the person loves or finds significant, she said.

It will also be the first of up to three new murals joining five painted last year for the collection created by The Helis Foundation and the Arts Council New Orleans.

Strahan is asking kindergarten through 12th grade students in New Orleans to submit ideas including a portrait, a favorite fruit, and a pattern of another culture or a culture meaningful to the student — and to tell why they’re meaningful.

Her activity kit on the Arts Council New Orleans’ webpage includes two samples from her series. One shows a child wearing a wreath of green grapes. It was painted onto coffee filters, Strahan said. The other shows a man whose face paint and large ear ornament represent the Surma tribe of Ethiopia. Red beans make up the painting’s background and the man’s ear decoration bears the logo of the New Orleans-based Camellia Brands bean company.

Two students from the International High School and one from another school in the city will be chosen. All three will get a print of Strahan’s artwork and a $50 gift card, and the foundation and arts council hope all three can inspire panels in the mural, program spokeswoman Camille Rome said.


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