Emery Art Students Are Planting it Forward


Ms. Moore and her art students creating a mural for Plant It Forward.

Leah Cororve, Reporter

Emery Art students have put hours of work into creating a beautiful mural at one of the Plant It Forward farms in the Houston community. Yet what may seem like a laborious and tedious project, is nothing short of fun for these students. This is largely because they get to spend time doing their favorite activity: art while giving back to their community in the process. 

Founded in 2011, Plant It Forward is an organization that assists refugees in developing their farming businesses where they can grow sustainable products for their community while also making a livelihood to provide for themselves and their families. Emery has sent groups of students to volunteer at the farms of this amazing organization multiple times in the past. Then, last year, the director of Plant It Forward reached out to Emery staff inquiring if they had students interested in painting a mural on a shipping container of one of the organization’s farms. Paige Moore, Emery’s art teacher, happily took on the project as she said “People love murals, and it would be great as a way of beautifying the area.” Thrilled with the endless possibilities of this mural, Moore immediately got students involved hoping to utilize their immense creativity on the mural project.

Dylan Kessler, Emery Senior, immediately knew this project was something he wanted to be a part of since Moore brought it up to him in the winter of 2022. As a passionate art student, he explained that his pieces usually just “sit on a wall,” but he was thrilled to “create art for someone that would appreciate it.” Moore, Kessler, and many other art students first spent time meticulously designing the mural and meeting with the farm owner and his family to see “what they would like on their murals since they are the ones who have to look at it all the time,” Moore explained. 

Once they completed their design and acquired the necessary supplies, the mural team began making long trips to one of the Plant It Forward farmers’ lands to create the mural. After many hours spent painting with the beating sun shining over them, Moore and her students finished their masterpieces. The mural depicts a farm that includes a barn, a variety of crops, and course some chickens. The whole painting is bursting with color and will certainly bring a smile to the face of anyone who looks at what was previously an ordinary shipping container. 

Yet Moore and her students are not done serving their community through their beautiful art creations. They are currently designing a mural to paint on another shipping container at one of the Plant It Forward farms, which they are in the process of painting.

This project is not only a space for students to give back to their community but to do so in a way that utilizes their passion. Moore touched on this, explaining that creating these murals is not only creative and fun “but it’s also a gift that we’re giving, so that moment when the work becomes about being proud of this thing that you’re offering someone else, rather than doing for yourself, is beautiful.” Kessler fully agreed with this sentiment stating that it is “really nice being able to do art that has a purpose.” Kessler and Moore ultimately make it clear that while all of the art created by the Emery students is amazing, the fact that this art is created with the intent of giving back to the community makes it all the more beautiful.