The City of Tallahassee’s old waterworks facility cistern is being turned into a canvas for some budding student artists. Joelle Dietrick, a noted professional artist with Florida State University, will lead the painting of a mural that is being created in collaboration with students at PACE Center for Girls. This project is being funded through a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment of the Arts’ Challenge America Fast-Track program.
The cistern has been the target of graffiti over the years, creating an eyesore for the community and a maintenance issue for the City. The goal of this project is to dissuade continued graffiti and add to the sense of place created at Cascades Park. The old waterworks facility cistern is located on the northeast corner of Gaines Street and Gadsden Street.
The visuals for the mural relate to housing and have been generated through a series of computer art workshops with students at PACE. The project sought and received funding through the National Endowment for the Arts’ Challenge America Fast-Track because the project is outside of school’s curriculum; connects to the larger, local community; and aligns with Challenge America Fast-Track’s mission, which is to create unique artwork that involves underserved populations. Recognizing that 15–30 percent of PACE girls are home insecure and 96 percent are eligible for the Federal food lunch program, the subject of the mural focuses on our country’s shifting assumptions about housing in America.
The housing imagery has been developed through the computer art workshops with all 60 PACE students, grades 6 through 12. Before the workshops, they took photographs of their homes and a favorite object. During the workshops, they used these photographs to create color palettes and fragmented imagery. Finally, students used Inkscape, a free, open source image-editing program, as a tool to see their palettes and imagery made into flat shapes that could be easily combined with other students’ work to make one large image for the mural.
Work on the mural begins on Monday, March 9. The students from PACE will donate their time and talent to paint the mural. Pending no unforeseen circumstances, the project should be complete by the end of the week.
Dr. Audra Pittman and Amanda Karioth Thompson with the Council on Culture and Arts were instrumental in putting this partnership together.
The core of the waterworks building was constructed in 1889, and by 1904, additions and alterations brought it close to its current configuration. The building served the Water Department until the late 1950s, providing water to the community, and then served as storage for the Electric Department through the 1960s. For more information about the City of Tallahassee, please visit Talgov.com.
PACE Center for Girls is a local, accredited, nonprofit school for at-risk girls. For more information about this organization, please visit their website at http://www.pacecenter.org/.