Painting a scene of community; New Dominion School students working with Good Graffiti program

Continuing a community trend to try and wipe away graffiti at sites around Austin, students from New Dominion School in Austin visited Shirley Thiel Park with paint and paint brushes in hand.

New Domion School art teacher Chris Oftelie and a student from the school work on painting a mural on the inside of the shelter of Shirley Thiel Park Tuesday morning.

Art teacher Chris Oftelie led the students as they painted over bad graffiti left in the shelter in a patchwork style with an outdoor theme.

“We’re trying to take an area that was kind of ugly and trying to make it beautiful,” Oftelie said as the students began the early workings of the project Tuesday morning.

Aside from the effort to beautify the area, Oftelie is hoping that this will leave a lasting impression on the students themselves.

A student from New Dominion School puts a coat of green on the wall at the Shirley Thiel Park shelter Tuesday morning.

“We want the kids to get out and do community service so that they can feel proud of what they are doing,” Oftelie said. “The idea is making something more beautiful for the community.”

The effort is being done in connection with the Good Graffiti program that was started in 2014 as a partnership with the Vision 2020 Community Pride and Spirit committee and the Austin Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department.

A student from New Dominion School works ona. mural at the shelter at Shirley Thiel Park Tuesday morning.

It’s a program that connects volunteers with locations that either have existing vandalism or are frequently the target of tagging and hateful messages.

“I love seeing the spirit our local volunteers bring to their work,” said volunteer coordinator Geoff Smith. “Not only is it uplifting, we’ve also found it more effective than just white washing over a spot like the Seven Springs underpass, which just leaves the next vandal a clean slate to write on.”

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