WACO, Texas — If you drive down Elm Avenue, you can't miss the new artwork. It's called the Tree of Life and it represents the rich history and unity rooted in the East Waco community.
Wacoans and city leaders gathered to highlight the work of people like Vincent Thomas and Cade Kegerreis, the designers who worked together with other artists and 14 high school students from Waco ISD to bring the mural to life.
"Right now to have a history that is celebrated showing unity and support not only just from this community where it is African American rich, but also showing the support and uplifting from our allies," Thomas said.
This project is part of Creative Waco's ARTPrenticeship program, which is a collaborative experience. Kennedy Sam, the director of marketing and communications with Creative Waco said they partnered with TFNB bank, who recently opened the first full service bank in East Waco in over 100 years.
"We were very honored to speak with people who have been in East Waco for generations and they all contributed to the design through their stories," Sam said.
Thomas said this type of art speaks to everyone and he hopes people feel unified when they see it, especially in a time when we aren't able to connect in the ways we usually do.
"It's great to see culture and history be able to educate a community, but also being able to do this during a time where the climate is changing and we're becoming more conscious as a world," Thomas said.
Those who worked on this project said their artwork not only shows the history of the East Waco neighborhood, but a vision for a better future.
The artists Thomas and Kegerreis will be adding some finishing touches throughout Black History Month and they invite everyone to go out and ask them about the stories that make up the Tree of Life.