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HHS art students moving mural to finish line

“Bear Crossing” and “Hendo” by Diamond Cash runs along Fifth Avenue West from King Street to Maple Street. “Bear Crossing” and “Hendo” by Diamond Cash runs along Fifth Avenue West from King Street to Maple Street.

Long after they graduate, a handful of kids in Courtney Hoelscher’s art class at Hendersonville High School will be able to look back on a lasting legacy.

The art students are among the hardest working and most productive volunteers painting the new sidewalk mural that highlights the connection between Main Street and the Historic Seventh Avenue District along Fifth Avenue West and Maple Street.
Hoelscher and her students have come out the past three Saturdays to work on the project. This week they added flowers to a yellow and green base that makes up the Hendo Bee Line, one of two designs selected for the public art under foot. The other winning design, called Bear Crossing, was created by Diamond Cash, who is a Hendersonville High School graduate. Bear Crossing, which features a mountain landscape behind a bear silhouette and hands spelling “Hendo” in American sign language, is also partially painted. It covers the sidewalk on Fifth Avenue West from King to Maple streets.
“No. 1, it’s empowering to them, because they’re learning that their art is worth something,” Hoelscher said. “They’re also seeing the logistics of how a community project is organized, which I think that’s important to them. They get to see how art makes a difference to the community and can actually make the community better.”
Although people say, “Kids these days aren’t what they used to be,” the high school students’ dedication proves otherwise, the art teacher said.
“This is challenging the stereotype that I think the greater community has about our youth,” she said. “Sofia’s been out there three Saturdays, Berit’s been out there three Saturdays. They care. They’re just as special as they always have been maybe even moreso." The two students are Sofia Fernandez and Berit Raines.
“Also it challenges stereotypes about public schools and what we are about because we’re not just about test scores and statistics. We are helping create human beings that are going to be leaders of the community.”
Ten of her students drew designs, eight of which the artist accepted.
The Bee Line artist, Elizabeth Queen, said the project would not be as far along as it is if not for volunteers.
“We had one woman who worked six or seven hours cleaning out the cracks in the sidewalk so we could paint,” she said. “These kids have been out here every week. We’re really excited to be able to see it.”
An “all call public paint” for the sidewalk mural is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 30, and a ribbon cutting will be held later this fall at the Seventh Avenue Farmers Market.