It was 3:00 PM on July 20, 2015, and it was looking like an average Houston day—the traffic was packed, the sun was hot, and the city was in full-swing. It was a very special day for SpraTX … it was the day we met Anat Ronen. We had already been emailing with her, learning about the amazing art she was producing, but had no idea what was in-store. When we turned the corner to pull up, we were speechless; we had just discovered one of the most beautiful walls in Houston. The Third Ward is not known for being the richest or the safest district in the city at times, Ronen explained. However, as we stood in front of her masterpiece talking about art and her experience with the community, we felt at ease.
Blackshear Elementary’s principal discovered Ronen through a previous project she had done with another school and reached out to her to see what her vision would be for Blackshear’s huge canvas, measuring in at 250 x 18ft. Ronan’s vision was genius.
Her vision was not to paint the commonly revered “higher and more influential” faces of Houston but those that make the community– the faces that walk, ride, or bus right in front of Blackshear Elementary everyday.
Ronen started her quest to leave her mark on this huge wall as well as the community in November of 2014. When the community found out they had a chance to be a part of something so beautiful, they instantly became fans of Ronen’s vision.
She began taking pictures of people as they passed by wall to include them in the mural.
We asked if she had become friends with some of the passersby since she began the project, and she replied simply, “Oooh yes.” As we stood there and talked to Anat, people would stop in the middle of the road and point out that they knew people in the mural. Her understated response left us to know that there countless great stories in this mural, and we knew after talking with Anat, it’s not hard to want to be a part of her artistic world. We bet these folks will always remember her, for we know we sure will.
To end the conversation that day, we asked if she had learned anything over the 47 days of painting she had dedicated throughout the last 8 months. Ronen said she has learned how much she loves to paint portraits stating,
“People are beautiful and I can see a great deal of personal growth in my technique over the course of the mural’s production.”
Ronen did not fail to mention a little secret for other artists, and it is just as impressive as the size of the mural. She painted the entire piece with free paint from the chemical recycling center (except for the black paint). In the end we learned that all it takes to make your city a more meaningful place and to connect to the community is time and the will to make a difference.
To learn more about Anat, please check out the links below :