School vandalism covered with inspirational artwork

School vandalism covered with inspirational artwork

LUCEDALE, MS (WLOX) - After a vandal used black spray paint throughout L.T. Taylor Intermediate School, the principal called on the community to help.

And, they certainly responded.

"There was some vandalism here and I was glad to kind of like cover that up and make the room brighter, more colorful," said artist and college student, Lily Butler.

Lily is among the volunteers who stepped forward to cover-up ugliness with creativity. She and school leaders embrace the idea of the power of art to transform.

"I like making art for people to see, to inspire the people. I'm inspired by other people's art. And that's just what I want to do with my life. I really, I enjoy it," said Butler.

The school began using hallway murals and art in the classrooms more than two years ago. It was an idea shared at an education conference - give the students an environment they like, and they'll learn more easily.

The July graffiti was merely a setback.

"I think that the lesson learned is that nothing will hold us back. We're here to stay and we're a positive, great environment for students," said Principal Debra Joiner. "We will continue to be that."

School leaders are convinced that creative classrooms and hallway murals make a big difference in the learning environment. They understand that art can be both powerful and inspirational.

"They take pride and ownership in them," said school superintendent Pam Touchard, "And everything, everywhere they look, everything they see is positive."

Artist Steven Butler created the Chronicles of Narnia theme in the cafeteria.

"You never know where there's a budding artist. Or somebody that has a talent, maybe a latent talent that they need to bring out of themselves," said Butler. "Maybe seeing something like this would inspire them."

Joiner says they plan to expand the ongoing artwork project in the future.

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