Fort Worth artist creates jobs with NEA public art project
Local ceramic artist Pam Summers was selected to create a 240 foot tile mosaic mural for the City Of Grand Prairie as part of a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) "Our Town" grant.
The NEA partners with municipalities to improve quality of life, foster stronger community identity and a sense of place through art. In addition to designing the artwork, MS. Summers will be responsible for training participants of Grand Prairie’s "Weed and Seed" job training program to install the mosaic tile mural on a concrete retaining wall that will be highly visible from Interstate 30.
The City of Grand Prairie received the grant from the National Endowment for the Arts with matching funds from the Grand Prairie Sports Facilities Development Corporation to provide tile installation training to 10 ex-offenders who are participants in the Weed & Seed Job Training Program. "Weed" means to weed out crime and "Seed" means to seed in beneficial programs.
The Grand Prairie Weed and Seed Re-Entry Initiative has helped more than 1,000 individuals who were once incarcerated re-enter the work force. Thirty five percent of workers who completed the program have found full-time employment. The Weed and Seed Re-Entry Initiative is coordinated by a team that includes Tammy Chan, Special Projects Manager and Meco Nathan, Special Projects Crew Leader, who is a graduate of the program. "Meco entered the program eager to work and quickly showed his leadership abilities," Chan said. "He knows firsthand how hard it is to get a job when you have a criminal record, so he is a strong, positive role model and mentor for our participants. He is proof that people do change."
Matching funds were provided by the Grand Prairie Sports Facilities Development Corporation, who operates Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie, a pari-mutuel horse racetrack.
The grant funded training includes several rounds of training by various artists and construction companies, including Five Star Flooring and ARDEX, a manufacturer and supplier of tile installation supplies.
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