JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Alfred I. duPont Middle School unveiled on Tuesday a mural showcasing Hispanic heritage, painted by a Jacksonville-area artist.
The message: To make all students feel accepted.
“It meant so much to me. I wanted to make it as beautiful as possible,” said artist Whitney Esther Perez.
Perez said the Duval County School District asked her to submit a concept sketch and then she was chosen to take on the project. She said she put her heart and soul into the painting.
“This took me over 40 hours,” Perez said. “I was in here every day, probably eight hours.”
Perez said students would come up to her while she was painting.
“I wouldn’t realize they’d be behind me, and I took my headphones out and they’d say, ‘Oh my goodness, you’re awesome. This is beautiful,’” Perez said.
The mural was unveiled at an event hosted by the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation, Alfred I. duPont Middle School, First Coast Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville and the Art in Public Places Program.
Dr. Diana Greene, the superintendent of Duval County Schools, says there’s meaning behind the mural.
“All the threads come together,” Greene said. “They may be different shades, different hues, but we’re focused on making this beautiful acceptance for all of our students.”