Future School Students Paint Mural With Guidance From International Artist

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- The Unexpected Project has inspired other artwork around Fort Smith including a project at the Future School where students are working with Unexpected Artist Ana Maria to paint a mural on one of their buildings.

“It's a lot of hard work in it, and I'm just doing part of it, but most of it is done by the students,” Ana Maria said.

Ana Maria participated in the first edition of the mural festival in 2015. The Puerto Rican artist has since moved to Fort Smith. Her first mural is located at 800 Garrison Ave., and the second mural she created is on Rogers Avenue across from the Marriott Hotel. Now she’s mentoring Future School students on how to paint a mural to call their own.

“We decided to use a lot of colors and these guys helped me to decide, but it's basically decided by their ideas,” she said.

Students started with a blank canvass.

“[On Monday], we had to make the outline and stuff, and we're just gonna paint from there on,” Jarred Hurlocker said.

“The design in the end, it's very colorful,” America Cruz said. “It's very vibrant, which is what we wanted. We wanted to be like 'Hey guys, this is us,' and this is what we want the community to think of us, so that was basically our goal.”

Students said they’ve been planning the mural since the summer and have learned some valuable advice from Ana Maria.

“Her art is very mystical, so that's kind of cool,” Cruz said. “She comes up with her own animals, so I think that's what I learned was to do whatever you think you like.”

“With helping with the project, I've learned how to plan out art better and how to contrast and stuff,” Hurlocker said.

The project is all part of Future School’s General Art 1 class.

“Each day is a challenge as I can see, but I think they are very committed to it,” Ana Maria said. “I think maybe by the end of this week we can be done with it.”

You can see the students working on their mural from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the afternoon the rest of the week. The Future School Building is located on North 7th Street in downtown Fort Smith.