Winthrop Arts Mobile Art Factory Lead Instructor Bryant Martinez recently completed a mural called Bee Kind at Reddick Elementary School in Wimauma. The mural was created by Martinez in collaboration with children who attend an after-school program called Good Afternoon Friends and Amigos led by Mary Torres.
Good Afternoon Friends and Amigos provides children in Kindergarten to third grade with after-school tutoring and homework support. The program is funded by the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County and managed by Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services. Winthrop Arts was given a stipend from the funding to provide the materials and the artistic components.
According to Torres, “The idea for the mural came about because we had received funding to have family involvement activities. However, due to COVID-19, we were not able to do this. Instead, we decided to use the funds to create art that focuses on what we teach the children in the program and share it with the school.”
Torres explained, “Good Afternoon Friends and Amigos teaches social and emotional learning. We incorporate yoga and mindfulness. All of the children are from migrant families, and they are referred to us for being at risk.”
Martinez, in creating the mural, wanted to capture a nature garden theme featuring bees, sunflowers, little hands, butterflies and dragonflies.
“I wanted to incorporate casitas for the community and hearts for love. The name ‘Bee Kind’ was a natural one and is a part of what Mary teaches the children in the program.”
The mural took about four weeks to complete. Martinez drew the basic structure and the children helped to paint and add their handprints. The mural is located in the entry walkway at Reddick Elementary. It has been sealed and will add a sense of joy to the school, and it can be seen by everyone who visits the school.
The Winthrop Arts Mobile Art Factory is a grant-funded program that provides free art classes to underserved children living in Southern and Eastern Hillsborough County. For more information on Winthrop Arts, please visit www.winthroparts.org.
For more information on Good Afternoon Friends and Amigos and Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services, please visit www.gulfcoastjewishfamilyandcommunityservices.org.