Artist helps Rochelle Middle School students paint mural


Students at Rochelle Middle School have been hard at work on a school mural, which is part of the arts curriculum provided by the school district.

Students said the project has been the highlight of their week. They say they are not only improving the inside of their school but also how the community perceives them.

“Rochelle is known as a place with violence or a place that is for ghetto kids,” said seventh-grader Ja’mya Outlaw. “When it’s not about ghetto kids, it’s about people trying to make it to high school and college and people trying to make a difference in life.”

Ja’mya Outlaw and Madysen Hawkins, another seventh-grader, said the mural means a lot to them

“It’s to show each individual personality in one big great picture through different grade levels and then to come and paint together and it brings us together,” said Madysen. 

With the help of nationally known artist Catherine Hart, the mural has come together nicely.

“The whole first week we worked on the wall I was just sort of the listener,” said Hart. “I was really listening to what did they want this to be, what was meaningful to them; what are the feelings that they wanted to put.”

The two young artists describe the mural in 3 words: “Black Girl Magic.” 

“The girl with the afro is like the different meanings of black girl magic and how black girls can do anything they put their mind to,” said Outlaw. 

Hart said she has really seen the students bloom, and she is excited to see them express themselves creatively. 

“Just tapping into your creative being just really reminds you that you are a great creator you’re capable of so much more than you think,” Hart said. 

Hart said the project has moved so efficiently that they should be done pretty early. 

She also said based on this experience she hopes that she can come back and work on an even bigger project in the future in Kinston. 

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