The Henderson Chess Club traded pawns for paint brushes this summer, adding vibrant pops of color to a new abstract art project beautifying the Clardy Fox Public Library.
El Paso artist Adrian Lopez received a grant to beautify the school’s neighboring library. He teamed up with Saul Ramirez, Henderson’s art teacher and an artist himself, to draw the members of his nationally-recognized chess team to volunteer.
“I love painting and enjoy being outside in the field working,” said Ramirez, who was recently named EPISD’s Secondary Teacher of the Year. “We found this perfect opportunity to introduce the students to more art and they love it. They’ve been out here everyday for three to four hours for the past three weeks.”
Students carefully filled in designs sectioned off by blue tape around the entire building. The color scheme continued onto the library’s signage, outside trash can and bike rack.
“My main push was give to give it a lot of really bold positive colors and keep the design abstract enough but still influenced by a lot of our culture,” Lopez said. “All of this is a reflection of our community and the brightest of it. There are color bursts that resemble some of the area’s plants and desert life and piñatas that are so festive. There’s a sarape feeling that happens with bands of color across the entrance.”
Students confidently took up paint brushes to finish up the designs, taking ownership and pride in the artwork they had a hand in.
“It’s very colorful,” said 7th grader Roxxane Enriquez. “It looks calming and it’s beautiful. It makes the neighborhood look better and people can come and enjoy the library.”
Nathan Ramos spent much of his morning coloring in diamonds and painting circles.
“I love painting and doing this in the summer is a dream come true,” he said.
After a morning of painting, the chess mates’ next move is back to Henderson for lunch and three hours of practice.
“I like doing both very much,” Nathan said. “Chess in the summer is good because we get more practice and get ahead of other people.”
The students are wrapping up the art project this weekend but will continue their chess practices throughout the summer. The design will be officially unveiled at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 8. The chess team will be recognized during the ceremony for their role in bringing Lopez’s creation to life.
“I couldn’t have done any of this without the kids because they’ve all contributed so much to the artwork itself – from painting to everything they did here,” Lopez said. “They are amazing.”