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Art teacher brings legacy of beauty to Ray Elementary

January 13, 2022

When the students at Ray Elementary School sit down for lunch, they are surrounded by a cheerful garden. The once blank cafeteria walls were their canvas and their hands brought it to life. It’s just what art teacher Amanda Ramirez envisioned.

“Our cafeteria is a space that all our students go to. I wanted it to be an inviting place that they would love and be proud of,” said Ramirez.

The white walls, while ordinary, sparked Ramirez’s creativity. She sought out mural projects, thinking of ways to best utilize the space. She decided on the Ten Thousand Flowers Project. Instead of a muralist coming out to do the art themselves, the Ten Thousand Flowers Project guides participants to create their own art. 

“I kind of put together a thing where it’s basically a giant paint-by-numbers for schools where I sketch the whole thing out and assign colors to each one and have them go at it and fill in all the flowers by themselves,” said lead artist and creator Tim Gibson. 

Tim Gibson, creator and lead artist of the project, has a goal of linking ten-thousand flowers throughout the country. Hutto ISD was his first stop in Texas.

“The whole goal of the flower project is to get art to as many people as possible around the country and really have them get involved in it and take ownership of the murals themselves,” said Gibson.

“We did our painting for a week in November and when we painted the mural every student painted during art class. The panels would be out for them and they would fill in their part of the mural,” said Ramirez. “That’s one thing I love most about it, is because students who don’t necessarily love coming to art or feel like they’re a good artist, they felt like they were great artists that day.”

All 640 students painted a piece of the mural. It now hangs in the cafeteria. No more empty space.

“I think it’s amazing,” said 3rd grade student Collin Ramirez. “It makes me feel happy.”

“I mean guys it’s a difference. This is my third year here as a principal and I’ve always wanted something in our cafeteria that our students produced,” said Principal Alexis Campbell.

The mural at Ray Elementary connects to an elementary school in Santa Barbara, California and a fence by the Hutto Chamber of Commerce which connects to another school in Tennessee. The students have left a legacy of beauty for all to enjoy.

“I think that even telling a student they’re an artist or giving them an experience where they get to participate in something bigger than themselves or something that is bigger than what they take home is gives them a foundation making them feel like ‘I can do it, I’m an artist’ and helps them have the motivation to try,” said Ramirez.