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Mural Installation Celebrates Successful Wrap-up of HEALing Projects

Mural Installation Celebrates Successful Wrap-up of HEALing Projects

June 01, 2021

Student self-portrait art installation at Texans Can Academies – Austin comes together during outdoor event

(Austin, Texas) Every day, Texans Can Academies works to create an atmosphere where students feel welcome and seen, but the recent unveiling to celebrate a student-created mural filled with self-portraits took being seen to a new level.

 “With music, food and art, we wanted to provide a space of inclusivity during the unveiling of this mural,” said Nina Winstead, Austin Development Director. “But it was so much more than that. We wanted to take a moment and recognize the amazing accomplishments of the recent HEALing projects.”

English teacher and local hip hop artist Greg Maneikis founded the HEALing Project in 2016 with Dell Medical student Virginia Waldrop. Their mission was to support students’ emotional health as they face challenges both academically and at home.

“HEALing stands for Hope Empowerment Art and Leadership” Maneikis said. “We want to help the students and our city by molding the future leaders of our community here in East Austin.  Art is one of the ways we help the students find the power of their voice.”

The program, now an annual collaboration between Dell Medical students and Texans Can Academies – Austin teachers, brings in local artists to help foster coping mechanisms that allow the students to ultimately be more productive academically, giving them additional resources to achieve the life they desire. This year’s workshop was led by Maneikis and fellow teacher Glenda Gadlin, a group of Dell Medical students, and artist Jean-Pierre Verdijo.

During the year, participants of the HEALing Project completed workshops with movement, mindfulness practices, art and writing. The mural marks a fitting celebration to mark the growth fostered by the program.

“During the night we wanted to highlight the students’ amazing work this year and celebrate their successful completion of many months of HEALing Project workshops,” Texans Can – Austin Principal, Dr. William Arevalo, said.  “We are so proud of everything those students have accomplished already and we all look forward to hearing about their many future achievements.”

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