Cypress Lakes High School senior Lauren Longoria has been selected by The Center for Hearing and Speech (CHS) to participate in the seventh annual Via Colori street painting festival, during which the streets of downtown Houston will transform into an unconventional art gallery.
Diaz will join nine fellow emerging artists from Houston area high schools in the Via Apprendista section, each creating a 6-foot by 6-foot street art mural at the festival. Each high school artist has signed on to volunteer their time and talent for this local grassroots event in hopes of increasing public access to art. Via Colori attracts thousands every year with its distinctive and massive colorful chalk murals, celebrating the art of creativity and benefiting children with hearing impairments.
“After experiencing the Via Colori street painting festival in 2010, where I helped my art teacher and classmates draw a mural for children with hearing disabilities, I realized that my love of art could really benefit kids all over the city of Houston,” Longoria explains. “After this experience I’ve come to love creating public art—the feeling of people watching my passion pour through my hands and onto the concrete just gives me the greatest feeling in the world: a feeling of purpose and belonging.
“I hope that this year’s Via Colori will translate my passion and all other artists’ passions into a universal language that everyone can understand,” she said.
Via Colori was introduced to Houston in 2006 to celebrate the Italian Renaissance art of street painting while benefiting CHS, a non-profit organization that teaches speaking, listening and literacy skills to children with hearing impairments.
“I enjoy using public art to teach my students because it offers them a way to participate in the planning, design, and creation of communal space,” says Cypress Lakes art teacher Lee Ann Jackson. “Via Colori reveals the dynamics of education, social processes and economic benefits while artists use their imaginations to create a sense of place with emotions and narratives. The incorporation of art in Houston public spaces helps give expression to our community values. When we encourage art, we also encourage creativity and thoughtfulness while enhancing a public appreciation of art.”