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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Rev Up festival makes, restores community art

Photo by Karis Olson

Naomi Haverland paints part of a flower in her mural at University Flowers on Texas Avenue as part of Rev Up The Arts Mural Festival on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023. (Photo by Karis Olson/The Battalion)

Spray paint wafted through the air as five professional artists from around the country painted new murals across various locations in College Station. The murals are part of the Rev Up the Arts Aggieland Mural Festival hosted by the Arts Council of the Brazos Valley, or ACBV, a week-long event that included live mural painting, two vendor markets, art restoration and daily events for the visiting artists.

Muralists at the festival included artists MOUF at the Aggieland Bookstore on Northgate, Candy Kuo at The Yard at Caprock Crossing, Naomi Haverland at University Flowers, Key Detail at the Arts Council of the Brazos Valley office and RemixUno at the La Quinta hotel.

ACBV Programs and Events Coordinator Madi Stott worked on organizing the festival with five muralists from across the country this past week. Each muralist painted a mural, some of which included depictions of maroon bonnets or Reveille.

“The cool thing about this festival is all five of the walls are in open, public spaces that the community has open access to,” Stott said.

The ACBV encouraged community members to interact with the muralists and watch the progression of the murals as they were being created, Stott said.

“It wouldn’t [have] been possible if not for all the help and love outpoured by the community as they embrace this new type of public art endeavor,” Stott said.

The festival not only includes installing new art, but also a conservator and welder restoring and cleaning existing art pieces in College Station like Cambria behind Larry J. Ringer Library and Eternal Winds.

“Our conservator and his welder [have] gone around to some of our different statues and sculptures that we have in our public art and sandblasted them to restore them to their original glory,” Stott said.

The festival wrapped up with two vendor markets on Saturday, Oct. 21, one at The Yard at Caprock Crossing near Candy Kuo’s mural and one at Northgate, near MOUF’s mural.

The vendor market included 35 independent vendors selling snacks, herbal goods, jewelry, pottery, art and clothing, Stott said.

Naomi Haverland, a muralist of more than 20 years from Florida, came to College Station this past week to create a mural at the University Flowers store for the festival. Haverland said she was grateful for the support from community members, which motivated her throughout the painting process.

“There was this one lady … she works at [Texas A&M], but she came by every single day to see the progress and take a picture … so that was kind of fun,” Haverland said.

ACBV work-study and biomedical sciences senior Rubab Khan manned the Arts Council’s booth on Saturday at The Yard at Caprock Crossing.

“I have never really met official artists before, so it’s my first time doing that, and they’re really cool … they’re talented people,” Khan said.

Those hesitant to pursue an art career could be motivated to do so after seeing the passion of these artists, Khan said.

“I think seeing professionals be really honed in on their craft might inspire them and I think just seeing beautiful things — I feel like that’s how you can get involved,” Khan said.

Students from A&M Consolidated High School participated in the Arts Council’s Artist Connect Program, which works to connect students from Title I schools to professional artists, Stott said.

Co-sponsor of the graffiti club and biology teacher at A&M Consolidated High School, Eden Fielder brought 21 students from the graffiti and art clubs on a field trip on Wednesday, Oct. 18, to work on two large concrete signs at The Yard at Caprock Crossing with Wade Thompson, who goes by the artist name FISH.

“We thought [Mural Fest] would be a great way for them to actually meet a professional artist, get that experience and learn from them,” Fielder said.

The high school students helped the artists with the murals and learned about graffiti and spray paint techniques, Fielder said.

“[FISH] was telling us about how he got work and how he improved through the years, so I think it’s just a really good example for the kids to know that this is something they can pursue,” Fielder said.

The ACBV informed students about the scholarship opportunities they offer and about ways to step into an art career.

“It’s been so amazing watching the students interact with the muralist and just see their eyes light up when these students who are pursuing these art careers see people who actually have successful art careers and are able to talk to them about what their next steps are,” Stott said.

The Arts Council also partnered with Dark Mode Photography this week to offer a learning lab apprenticeship to students at A&M, Stott said.

“We’ve been able to plug in a few students from Texas A&M into the program and they’ve been able to shadow our lead photographer, Tony, as he captures photo, video and different media of the murals,” Stott said. “That’s been a really good way to support not only the community but also A&M students as well.”

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Nadia Abusaid
Nadia Abusaid, Life & Arts Writer
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