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Louisville muralist’s latest work a collaboration with elementary students

100322_Family And Childrens Place Mural_ 2_Jess Clark
Students from Engelhard Elementary inspect the finished product of the mural they worked on with Louisville Artist Jaylin Stewart.

Louisville artist Jaylin Stewart unveiled her newest mural Monday morning alongside young collaborators from Engelhard Elementary. 

The colorful mural depicting laughing and smiling children is on the wall of Family and Children’s Place at 525 Zane Street in the Limerick neighborhood near downtown Louisville.

“This mural represents the caring, child-friendly and warm environment that Family and Children’s Place creates,” said Pam Darnall, president and CEO of the nonprofit.

Family and Children’s Place provides resources to prevent and stop child abuse and neglect. The center also supports after-school and summer learning at nearby Engelhard Elementary through a grant from the 21st Century Foundation.

Students in the after-school program worked with Stewart to conceptualize and paint the mural.

Among Stewart’s most famous works is the projection of a portrait of Breonna Taylor on Louisville Metro Hall. 

Stewart said at first, a lot of students worried they couldn’t paint well enough.

“We don’t use that word—we don’t use ‘can't,’” said Stewart, adding that she’s seen students grow not just creatively, but as leaders and collaborators.

“This was one wall, and there was several of us, and we really had to work together and listen to each other and be patient and kind to each other to create this piece,” she said.

Stewart divided the mural into numbered sections and had students tackle them one by one. Engelhard fifth-grader Tristin Morgan said the project was challenging.

“You had to make the edges precise,” he said.

But he learned a lot about painting. So did his classmate Niecie Alvis, who also learned that mistakes can often be fixed.

“We messed up a little, but we got better on it,” she said.

The students said they hope the mural makes people feel happy as they walk into the center. 

Fifth-grader Leah Boyer wanted the mural to remind people of their unique inherent value.

“Everyone is different, and no one is the same," she said, "but everyone is special."

Support for this story was provided in part by the Jewish Heritage Fund.

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Jess Clark is LPMs Education and Learning Reporter. Email Jess at jclark@lpm.org.