Friendly Garden Mural Call to Artists

Blackshear Elementary

Friendly Garden Mural


Blackshear Bridge and our collaborators — Blackshear Elementary Fine Arts Academy’s PTA Fine Arts & Green Committees, Six Square: Austin’s Black Cultural District, City of Austin Parks & Recreation Department’s George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center, and Capital View Arts Call on Austin Muralists to apply to create a mural to be produced on the walls of Blackshear Fine Arts Academy’s Kindergarten and Pre-K wing near the school’s Friendly Garden.

Muralists! Submit your letter of interest with your qualifications, and photo attachments or links to your previous work by the deadline of January 28, 2019, to—

Phone 512-299-5776 for more information from the Friendly Garden Mural project team.



  • Artist Outreach
  • Application Deadline 1/28
  • Artist Selection 1/31


  • Sign Contract & First Artist Payment Feb. 12
  • Feb. 2 Community Engagement #1 – Public Listen Session at Blackshear Elementary School
  • Artist Produces Design #1
  • Conservator Review
  • Feb. 10 Fundraiser and Silent Auction for Friendly Garden Mural and Blackshear Bridge Community Outreach programs at Tamale House East, 4-7 PM
  • Feb. 16 Community Engagement #2 – Artist Shares Concepts at Blackshear Elementary School


  • Artist Produces Design #2 – Tweeks of Design #1
  • Second Artist Payment on Successful Review of Finalized Design
  • Target Installation Begins 3/21


  • After School Arts Club with Teacher collaboration/Student/Community Engagement in Mural making
  • Friday, April 26, 2019 — Friendly R. Rice Birthday Party, Mural Unveiling, and Reception Reunion of Blackshear Elementary School Alumnae
  • April 2019 Related exhibit at The George Washington Carver Museum, Genealogical and Cultural Center foyer
  • Artist Payment #3 after Unveil Event

For more information, email or phone 512-299-5776

Review mural content information and submission guidelines below.

Walk by historic Blackshear Elementary School at 1712 E. 11th St. to take a look at the proposed mural space to the right of the school’s entrance as you face its front door, on the eastern wing next to Friendly Garden.

Thank you, Friendly Garden Mural sponsors! — 

  • Blackshear Elementary School
  • Huston-Tillotson University
  • Six Square – Austin’s Black Cultural District
  • Austin Revitalization Authority
  • Google Fiber

You, too, can pitch in to help make the Friendly Garden Mural.  Click here to make your contribution today!  Thank you.

blackshearlogo2018-12 HT LOGOSix Square Vector Logo      ARA Logo 2016 (transparent PNG)      GoogleFiber_logo-color

HISTORY  In 2016, the Blackshear PTA renamed the children’s garden after long-time, popular Principal, Friendly R. Rice, who first established a garden at the school in the 1930s. His daughter Vonnye Rice who lives in Cedar Park returned to Blackshear for the renaming ceremony on MLK Day.

This year we are calling on Austin-based muralists to commemorate and celebrate the legacy of Friendly R. Rice with a mural outside the entrance to the school garden. The mural will be located on the school’s brick Pre-K and Kindergarten wing facing the front entrance to the school, possibly wrapping the southwest corner of the wing.

The selected artist should be available to collaborate with student artists and teachers to illuminate the mural-making process and hopefully include students in painting a section of the mural ~ in the spirit of shared ownership and community learning.

Muralists will be encouraged to depict images of educator Rice and his legacy contributions– the first African American school library in the Southwest, the garden, and the first hot lunches in AISD.

On April 26, 2019, the school and community will unveil the mural at a Rice Birthday Party and Reunion of former Blackshear students with Rice’s daughter Vonnye Rice attending.


  • Image(s) of Friendly R. Rice, such as a portrait or images of him engaging with teachers, librarians, students, etc.
  • Reference to first official Library at an African American school in the Southwest
  • Reference to the first hot lunches in AISD
  • Reference to garden elements (flowers and vegetables)


  • Children’s faces (including a young Ms. Vonnye)
  • Other historic figures in Austin’s African American education history
  • Other biographical elements or images relevant to Blackshear’s history


Send an mail to: with a Letter of Interest describing your Qualifications. Send links or attachments of photo(s) showing your previous work.  Include in your letter:

  • Name, Email, Phone Number,
  • Website (if applicable),
  • Description of your Interest and Qualifications
  • Brief Artist’s Bio. describing relevant mural creation experience & connection to the community
  • 2-3 references with knowledge of your mural-making experience and skill
  • Assurance of availability for all events in the above Timeline.
  • A list of paint and other materials you will use
  • Information about the longevity of the proposed work and what maintenance would be required for your chosen medium in light of the design space & brick surface, or in the event of graffiti.
  • Any previous work with students. Teaching experience is not a requirement, but a willingness to bring the artistic process to life for young learners would be fantastic!
  • Your proposed total fee for the project that will cover labor, materials, supplies, and equipment not to exceed $6,000*

FriendlySmallerPortraitDEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS January 28, 2019.  A selection committee will announce the selected Artist by February 12, 2019.

UNVEIL EVENT & PUBLICITY The selected artist will be present for the unveiling event on April 26, 2019. The chosen mural design, artist’s bio, and still or film/video imagery of the mural-making process, the artist and the mural will become part of Blackshear Bridge promotional materials. The artist will have an opportunity for editorial comment on the press release, in associated materials, and to the media.

PAYMENT The selected mural artist may invoice Blackshear Bridge for labor and reimbursement with receipts for materials in up to three installments through May 15, 2019.

PROJECT EXTENSION  Neighborhood Venue Exhibit. An exhibit at a neighborhood venue will complement the mural and mention it during the weeks surrounding the mural’s unveiling in April. The exhibit will highlight the history, values, and accomplishments of black educators in Austin including Friendly R. Rice, as well as provide information about African American school libraries and foodways in central Texas– two areas FriendlyBirthdayPartywhere Principal Rice, the subject of the mural, innovated at Blackshear Elementary School. See preliminary research below.

For any questions or further information, please contact

Blackshear Bridge is a 501c3 nonprofit organization founded in 2013 to create and maintain diverse and sustainable communities in central east Austin.  For more information, peruse this website and follow us on Facebook.


* Execution of mural timeline contingent on final design approval by AISD Facilities.


Friendly R. Rice started as Blackshear Elementary School’s Assistant Principal in 1931. He became the Supervising Principal in 1933 and would lead the school until 1972.

The Ivy League-educated Rice, widely viewed as a leading progressive educator, had free rein to implement his innovative ideas – collaborating with social service agencies to serve what we today call “at risk” kids, building a library with a credentialed librarian (the first at a black school in the southwest), and providing hot lunches for kids, a novelty adopted throughout the District.

Mr. Rice started the school’s first outdoor garden in the 1930s.

Further information on Rice can be obtained at the Austin Historical Society, George Washington Carver Museum, through the Portal to Texas History’s Building the African-American Community collection, or by emailing


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