Tuesday, February 8, 2000
Houston, Texas
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Mural in Social Work symbolizes community 'Pulling Together'

By Rodney Malapitan
Daily Cougar Staff

Last weekend, a team of African-American artists installed the largest colored-tile mosaic in the University's permanent art collection in the lobby of the Social Work Building.

The mosaic mural was a collaboration between the University, the Third Ward community and local artists. Graduate School of Social Work Dean Ira Colby had intended for the project to reflect the school's mission of "social and economic justice for all."

The mural began with talks between the GSSW and Project Row Houses, a community arts organization in the Third Ward. Project Row Houses' founding director Rick Lowe recommended local artist Reginald Adams, who has coordinated and produced art projects across Houston for the past seven years.

Adams and his production team, ArtworkZ, accepted the job and met with Colby several times to discuss the project. Adams later met with GSSW faculty and staff to get more input and to take photographs of them, which were later incorporated into the mural.

Work on the mural began in November 1999. The artists created the mural in large panels, which were brought to the Social Work Building and installed Jan. 29 on a wall facing the building's main entrance. The project's finishing touches were complete by Feb. 2.

The mural, titled Pulling Together, depicts more than 30 adults and children from the faculty and staff of the GSSW, Project Row Houses' After-School Program, local residents and the artists. In the mural, the people are pulling on chains connected to a door. Beyond the door is a sphere of broken mirrors, meant to reflect the viewer.

"The mural itself represents the very essence of the struggles that we all face in our daily lives," Adams said. "We should all be pulling towards the highest possible understanding of who we are. This is just another excellent example of how artists, communities, and private/public businesses can collaborate successfully."

The mural's dedication is slated for March. For more information regarding ArtworkZ, call (713) 697-5100.

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