July 22, 2021 unveils a new chapter for the Gulfton Community in Houston Texas. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the sports courtyard of Ashford Crescent Oaks Apartments (6711 Hornwood, Houston, TX 77074) for the Gulfton community new murals titled “Together We Play” and “All Hands In”. The said event was led by the Council Member Edward Pollard, CHAT Executive Director Dr. Aisha Siddiqui, and Amer Kumar, Vice President of Ashford Communities, and artists Amy Malkan and Thaddaeus Arvie.
The Gulfton Story Trail Project Mural started with poem submission. The residents from the community were asked to create poems about their community, culture or family. Most of the entries were submitted by the children and students from the community. Local artists from the area were asked to choose a poem that inspires them and turn them into a beautiful mural.
The murals are part of the “Gulfton Story Trail,” a collection of community based murals telling the stories of the Gulfton people by highlighting their diversity. Gulfton is one of the most diverse communities in Texas, noting that people who live there speak 80 different languages and are from over 40 countries. Inspired by the poetry recommendations of the Gulton-area community members that were made possible by the local artist and children from the Gulfton area. What was once a simple courtyard was transformed into a beautiful artwork.
About “Together We Play” and “All Hands In” – Murals in the Gulfton Community
Local community artist Amy Malkan and Thaddaeus Arvie collaborated with Houston city council member Edward Pollard and local non-profit Culture of Health Advancing Together. “Together We Play” a concept of Malkan, inspired from the sports themes near the courtyard while “All In Hands” was completed by Arvie, a part of a beautification project for the courtyard. With help of the CHAT Academy students and other children from the community the event was fun-filled and successful.
“This mural project is special because it is the children’s design and they are the ones who painted it, so overall it is their mural while I facilitated the experience. This mural is more than just about the arts, it is to inspire these kids to dream big and not allow their circumstance or situation to pre-determine their success. I really enjoyed working with everyone!” said Malkan in an interview.
“As we continue to grow as a melting pot, learning from one another despite our differences is key to a better future. This very logic is what makes a successful organization in team sports, like basketball and soccer. Before each game, the entire team physically puts all of their hands together in congregation. This gesture symbolizes unity and provides spiritual momentum for the upcoming challenge,” said Alvie.
“We believe that art helps to make people take ownership of communities. Art is a universal language,” Dr. Aisha Siddiqui, the founder of CHAT said.