The next time you’re visiting Capital Metro’s headquarters on East 5th Street, mosey around to the east side entrance and enjoy a new art installation by local artist Raúl Valdez, “Do it for the Children.”
Capital Metro President/CEO Linda S. Watson, city of Austin Medical Director Dr. Philip Huang and artist Raúl Valdez unveiled the mural in a ceremony yesterday. Check out all the photos from the unveiling and the installation on flickr.
The 7-foot by 12-foot mural was commissioned as a gift to Capital Metro employees and the community, and it transforms an outdoor break area formerly used mainly for smoke breaks. You may recall this past summer, Capital Metro became a tobacco-free workplace and began an initiative to create tobacco-free transit facilities for the health and safety of employees and our riders. (Capital Metro continues the implementation of tobacco free transit facilities on Jan. 16, when several park & rides and transit centers will go tobacco-free.)
The photos of the mural are great, but it is really something to behold in person! (It even includes our green parrot neighbors.) Raúl and Rafael Rios with Rios Masonry installed the mural on Dec. 19-20.
Raúl painted the mural on parachute cloth in his studio. He then cut it into manageable sections, which are attached to the wall with a special acrylic adhesive called nova gel. Once it’s set, the mural is sealed with a “sacrificial sealant” that can be removed (if the mural is ever defaced) without damaging the mural itself.
I can’t imagine anyone wanting to deface this mural, with its very positive, upbeat message. Raúl said, “My thoughts in producing “Do it for the Children” revolved around children, and the idea that whatever we do–– when we do it for the kids, we can’t go wrong. I think that fits with the spirit of what Capital Metro does by providing its services to the community.”
As an employee (and someone who likes art), having a Raúl Valdez mural on site feels like a special big deal. Raúl has been painting murals in Austin since the 70s, and you can see his art at the Pan-Am Recreation Center, at Becker, Brooke, Sanchez and Metz elementary schools, and at the University of Texas School of Social Work, to name just a few. See his portfolio of murals on his website.