Art Education Graduate Student Leads Production of Community Mural
Art Education doctoral candidate Felix Rodriguez was recently awarded $2,500 through a grant made possible by School Outfitters, a partner of the Evanston Spirit of Progress Mural in Cincinnati, Ohio, for which he served as project manager.
Rodriguez, who is originally from the Dominican Republic, worked as an artist and taught in Santo Domingo for seven years before coming to the United States. The Fulbright scholar started working with ArtWorks, a Cincinnati non-profit that employs and trains local youth and talent to create art and community impact, in 2013 while pursuing a master’s degree in art education at the University of Cincinnati. He worked as a teaching artist with ArtWorks in 2014 and returned to Cincinnati this year to become a project manager for the Evanston Spirit of Progress Mural.
The mural, located at the site of a former mural created in 1992, is a collaborative effort among ArtWorks, the Evanston Community Council, School Outfitters and Xavier University. It was designed by Jimi Jones and is meant to engage local residents around themes that are meaningful to the Evanston community.
“The mural is a perfect combination of nice art everyone will enjoy but will also educate people and prepare them to be better citizens, to get involved and be active participants of the city,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez decided to apply for the teaching grant, which was open to anyone who was part of the ArtWorks staff, to help cover expenses while he was pursuing his graduate studies. The required essay called for applicants to explain why they’re involved in the work they are in, what they value and what’s important to the community.
At Penn State, Rodriguez is part of the research team for the African Diaspora Water Crisis Curriculum Project, led by B. Stephen Carpenter II, professor-in-charge of the Art Education program.