historic site

Call for Muralist: Historic Bethel Garden

Bethel bannerSouth Texas College Library Art Gallery, in coordination with the RGV Bethel Garden Mural Taskforce and Keep McAllen Beautiful, Inc., is seeking muralists to help portray and preserve the history and culture of African American life and its significant impact on McAllen’s history. Bethel Garden is located at 1322 S. 16th Street, McAllen TX, 78501 (corner of S. 16th and Booker T. Washington Streets).

The City of McAllen recently adopted Bethel Garden, a Texas Historical landmark and the former site of the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church – McAllen’s first African American church (1941– 2004). The McAllen City Parks and Recreation Department was tasked to make improvements to the site which included the construction of four additional mural panels. The call for muralists is also an opportunity to focus on the former Booker T. Washington High School (BTW) which was located across the street from the church (1946-1957). The BTW School was the only high school available for African American youth in Hidalgo and its neighboring counties.

Bethel Garden

Those interested are invited to submit up to three designs for one or more of the 4 – six by six foot mural panels in separate themes focused on:

  • Faith – the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church
  • Hope – the Booker T. Washington High School
  • Love – Community Charitable Services
  • Unity – the La Paloma Neighborhood (formerly known as the Booker T. Washington Addition)

The Bethel Garden Mural Taskforce is accepting potential designs through June 30, 2021.

A total of four murals will be painted. This mural project is made possible through a grant to provide artist materials and small stipend.Mural Panels

According to Ray Howard, a community organizer, “McAllen’s Bethel Garden is a tribute to its African American heritage and cultural influence. It is a continuous celebration of our inclusion and contributions to the City’s growth and development over time. Under Mayor Darling’s leadership, coupled with interagency collaborations and a host of volunteers, the treasured memories of our McAllen ancestors and their vision for an even better future for all is preserved for generations to come”.

The South Texas College Library Art Gallery Program organizes exhibitions and educational programs to engage student understanding of art and its role in culture, support the academic curriculum, and inspire continued education through direct engagement with artists, scholars, and original works of art.

For more information, contact gotvos@southtexascollege.edu or visit https://library.southtexascollege.edu/callforart

The taskforce that will choose muralists include:
Pastor Nick Maddox, Bishop Michael Smith, Sharon Smith, Dr. Ray Howard, Cristela Cano, Valerie Ramirez, and Dr. Lisa Irby.