ArtFrog Art Academy adding splashes of color in Marble Falls

DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR

Mandi Baladez helps paint a retaining wall in the community garden at The Helping Center of Marble Falls on March 19, while Naomi Baladez tries to assist. The project is a collaborative between the Highland Lakes Master Gardener Association and ArtFrog Art Academy in Marble Falls. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

Mandi Baladez helps paint a retaining wall in the community garden at The Helping Center of Marble Falls on March 19, while Naomi Baladez tries to assist. The project is a collaborative between the Highland Lakes Master Gardener Association and ArtFrog Art Academy in Marble Falls. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

MARBLE FALLS — Heike Jost is always on the lookout for a good art project, especially one that makes a difference in the community.

“It really just makes it come alive, don’t you think?” she asks as she looks over a retaining wall in the community garden at The Helping Center of Marble Falls.

The wall, built out of cinder blocks by the Highland Lakes Master Gardener Association, no longer is the drab concrete color the blocks originally came in. A coat of light blue paint adds a nice touch, but it’s the mural a group of local homeschool students are working on that really sets it apart.

Jost, the executive director of ArtFrog Art Academy, helped outline the mural, which includes butterflies, dragonflies, flowers and other plants. Now, the students are, well, coloring in the lines (though one young budding artist doesn’t mind going well outside of them.)

Jost said this is one of the ways ArtFrog Art Academy tries to work outside the school’s doors and in the community. It’s kind of like bringing art to the people.

ArtFrog Academy is a nonprofit school that offers free art classes to youth and adults of all abilities. It’s located at 301 Main St., Suite 200. But the school’s work can be found across the community including on several fire hydrants that now have an entirely new level of curb appeal.

Karen Wilkens of the Highland Lakes Master Gardener Association said the retaining wall project is just another way for everyone involved to connect with the community.

“I think (the painting of the wall) really adds something to the garden,” Wilkens said. “Plus, it’s great for Heike and the academy because other people can learn about what they do there.”

Heike isn’t finished with outdoor projects when the community garden retaining wall is completed. She’s eyeing the concession stand at The Greens, the youth soccer facility located at Fifth Avenue and Avenue K in Marble Falls.

Her plan includes creating a nice mural on the wall and adding other artistic touches.

But, it’s not something ArtFrog Art Academy can do on its own. As a nonprofit school, it’s not flush with cash reserves to cover the paint and the other supplies. Heike hopes local businesses and other community members will help. But even supplies won’t get the concession stand painted. Once the paint is on hand and all the entities involved have given their blessings, she’ll need painters.

“I hope we can get a bunch of volunteers to come out and help,” she said.

Go to www.artfrog.org for more information on the academy’s programs or to get involved in the community painting projects. Go to www.burnetcountyhighlandlakesmastergardener.org to learn more about the community garden and other Highland Lakes Master Gardener Association projects.

daniel@thepicayune.com

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