HOUSTON – A Houston artist is helping to remember the life of a beloved 9-year-old who lost her life due to gun violence.
Jatziri Barron has been painting for nearly a decade and found that art has the power of healing. She created this mural with blessings from 9-year-old Arlene Alvarez’s close friends and family.
“The most beautiful part is seeing her little and beautiful face,” Barron said.
That little face will eventually be installed as a mural at the Lobo’s Tire Service at 606 75th Street in East Houston which is located close to where Arlene went to school.
“We’re trying to say we care. Even if we’re strangers, even if [they] knew her, even if we didn’t, [the shooting] hurt us, and she’s not going to be forgotten,” Barron said.
Barron said she turned to art as a way of healing and expression.
“I came from Mexico. I came here when I was 17, and art helped me go through the whole change and it really helped me to heal and go through my emotions,” Barron said. “I want [Arlene’s] family to find some peace that I know the power [art] has.”
Barron started on the 8x8 foot mural at her art studio in East Downtown.
She originally started the mural by the Lobo’s Tire Service at the 75th Street location outside but because of weather, Barron painted the mural on plywood inside the studio and plans on installing it at the site this weekend.
“Arlene was so young, and she’s so beautiful. You can see it on her face even if you don’t know her,” Barron said. “This is what I do the best. So, this is my way of contributing,” she added.
Others contributed as well. Barron was contacted by a close friend of Arlene’s father. The friend also organized the donation of supplies to paint the mural and the space for the mural at the tire shop was also donated as well.
Barron said she hopes that the mural becomes a place where people come to remember Arlene’s life, grieve, pray and inspire change.
“I want her happiness and her innocence to show. I want to show that beauty of a child that we will never see grow up,” Barron said.
The artist hopes that the image will help advocate for change.
Barron said she encourages people to write messages on ribbons and put them on the wings on the mural once it is installed this weekend.