If you’ve been in downtown Tyler recently near Marvin United Methodist church, you might have seen a mural in the making.

Some students at Caldwell Academy wanted to spruce up downtown by creating their own art. 

One teacher says a lesson that was about creativity and community turned into a lesson on forgiveness.

When Mrs. Jennings was asked to paint a mural with some of her art students, she didn’t hesitate to say yes. 

“Some people had been vandalizing it with spray paint and since it’s right across from our field, they were concerned with the ugly messages that were showing,” Mrs. Jennings said.

She and some young artists partnered with M.U.M.C to create something that would last years throughout the community.

“Going by it’s like this neighborhood that’s kind of down and all of a sudden this bright wall and I can say I did that, I was apart of that,” student Alexa Allen said.

But days later, their beauty almost turned into defeat.

Allison said, “Later that week, someone tagged it again, they had spray painted the question, “Where’s the love at?”” 

She posted signs in front of the mural asking the taggers not to paint on the wall and left a blank board for their response.

“I was driving by to check on the wall and they had written us back over the holiday break.” the teacher added.

There was an apology with anticipation to see their art. But the young artists, didn’t take it to heart.

“They really didn’t mean to that, it was just a wall and people... when you see something plain, you just think, it’s free to draw on, like a clean piece of paper,” student, Keziah Williams said.

“They felt sad that their art got covered so they wanted to make new art. But once we put the sign out there they knew what we were doing was for the community,” another student, Gracyn Campbell said.

Mrs. Jennings added, “When you create art, you are in charge of that world that you are creating and there’s ownership and responsibility there.”

Now her art students are able to walk away with not only a lesson in art, but life.

“Hopefully, as they get older, if they are faced with other hard things, they can remember that they can be apart of something positive,” she said.