Talking Walls: Celebrating Heritage with Community Art

Late October showcased not only the bright fall colors of Pacific Northwest’s changing leaves, but also the thriving creative energy of local visual and performing artists alongside families of all ages and backgrounds. TVC’s Youth Program Coordinator, Rob Routhieaux, attended a public art gathering and had this to report.

What started in summer 2020 as a community healing effort, Talking Walls has now become an engaging, community-directed initiative led by the Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation Department (THPRD). 

The Talking Walls event hosted at the THPRD HMT Complex on October 23, 2021 celebrated local Latinx muralists as part of Latinx Heritage Month activities. The event was an immersive art experience- children helped paint murals and engaged in many other creative activities at different stations.

Chilly weather did not deter the kids and other artists from being present. The celebration included songwriting, dance, mural painting, and crafts – including creation of Altares de Muerto Miniatura (miniature altars of the dead) and the writing of Calaveritas (little skulls). Children and their families appeared delighted in the range of activities and artists – sharing their creative talents for several hours while navigating the crowds of a youth swim meet at the adjacent THPRD pool.

The event was a collaborative effort of THPRD, Color Outside the Lines, Five Oaks Museum, and individual artists. Mural artists included Hector Hernandez, Fernando Mendez Corona, William Hernandez, Maria Rodriguez, Rudy Redstone Serna, Víctor Bizar Gómez, and Jesús Torralba. The event also featured Macuilxochitl dance group that got the kids and their families dancing, and local musician and artist Joaquin Lopez who led the kids in songwriting and joyful exchange. 

Please visit the HMT Complex at 15707 SW Walker Rd, Beaverton, OR 97006 to see the murals!

About the Author: Rob Routhieaux

Rob Routhieaux has strong passion for the arts, youth development, the environment, and building community. He has been blessed to work with a broad array of nonprofit organizations as a volunteer, staff member, board member, supporter, and adviser. For twenty-five years he worked as a college professor, teaching courses in nonprofit management, entrepreneurship, human resource management, and leadership development. He has led dozens of community workshops for nonprofit professionals on a wide range of topics. He enjoys travel, hiking, biking, tennis, and any other activity that engages others in joyful banter and comradery.