Spillman and Schulter lead sixteen students in refurbishing a blighted area with a lively mural

Last weekend, several of Germantown Municipal’s talented art students participated in Paint Memphis, a one-day festival that brought over 150 Memphis artists together to paint an entire city block. The list of local and regional painters for the event was impressive—and thanks to the involvement of our high school art teachers, Bobby Spillman and Amanda Schulter—our very own Houston High School students were counted among them.


“I’m going to teach them how to use spray paint next year,” joked Bobby Spillman under the hot sun as he watched his students painting a blighted wall on Willett street. The wall, coming to life with flowers and birds as they work, is a concrete structure that overlooks and surrounds a DIY skate park.

Movements like Paint Memphis are becoming annual traditions in the greater Memphis area and are a good way for artists to showcase their talents while making a positive difference in oft-overlooked communities. Walking down the street through the festival, onlookers could watch the area transform into something beautiful.

Mural-ing has long been a tradition at Houston High. Were you to look up on the hallway walls in the fine arts wing, you would be greeted by dozens of stunning self-portraits. Every senior AP art student for several years has been invited to leave their artist likeness on the walls. These murals have a variety of themes and colors and gorgeously depict the creative students who design them.

This tradition has added so much in beauty and fun to the high school, that now, Spillman has extended the lessons to include other art classes as well. Last year, his classes began a series of projects to spruce up the hallways—and some students are also being utilized to create special murals in classrooms.

As the classes have been exploring the art of the mural in school, it was meaningful to take their skills to the streets. Sixteen HHS Art IV and AP Art seniors, along with Schulter and Spillman, volunteered their Saturday transforming a designated section of drab concrete into a piece of wonderful artwork for the festival and surrounding community.

Coinciding with Paint Memphis’s mission to bring beauty into more underdeveloped areas, the design for the Houston mural features an abundance of greenery and floral design in hopes of adding artistic landscape to a community lacking.
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