Retired art teacher, former students disappointed after school paints over campus murals

HOUSTON – Doug Hiser is passionate about art and just as passionate about teaching it to students.

The former art teacher recently retired from Houston Gateway Academy after 11 years where over 30 murals painted by his students graced the hallways for much of that time.

“It’s something to look at. It’s something to talk about. Something the kids can be proud of, and my kids are proud of art,” Hiser said.

But all that recently changed when Hiser was told by students still attending HGA that the colorful and creative murals had been painted over by the school.

“They didn’t even give me a warning like maybe I could’ve taken pictures or something like that,” explained Hiser. “It’s their school, they can do what they want. I just, I just felt kind of hurt by it.”

Former students whose artwork was featured in the hallway, disappointed to hear about what happened.

“To me, there’s really no excuse for doing it,” said Frances Lechuga.

“I was I was hoping to show my husband and maybe my future kids of all the artwork that I did here,” said Elizabeth Rodriguez.

Both the former students and Mr. Hiser are hoping the walls will once again be put to good use in the form of art.

“Maybe they hire this new art teacher that’s enthusiastic and fantastic and that art teacher paints their own murals,” said Hiser.

“I’m hoping that new students can come in and do it again you know,” said Lechuga.

Through their attorney, Houston Gateway Academy released the following statement:

Recently, the newly-appointed principal of The Houston Gateway Academy, Inc.’s high school campus had the campus freshly painted in preparation for the upcoming school year. Unfortunately, in doing so, the school painted over a few murals that had been previously painted by students. The school did not intend to offend any member of our community or to disrespect the hard work done by our students. Instead, the decision to paint the campus was done to maintain the condition of our facilities. That being said, The Houston Gateway Academy, Inc., as always, remains committed to serving the best interest of our community and our students and is sorry for any hurt feelings caused by our recent maintenance.

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