“The Phoenix Rising” was designed to commemorate the heroes in and community of Oak Hill after a raging 100-acre fire 2011. The Keep Austin Beautiful-funded concrete wall is adorned with hand-painted ceramic tiles designed by community members, students, members of the local police and fire departments, and even then Mayor Lee Leffingwell, who attended the ceremony to dedicate the wall and to speak about the community’s perseverance.
This gorgeous mosaic was directed under Art Therapist Wanda Montemayor with much support and assistance from Kathy Morgan and Connie Justice. Preceding the creation of this mural, many community workshops were held in the town. As a way to kick-off the project, the community celebrated National Health Awareness Day on the one year anniversary of the Oak Hill fire. Many Art Therapists from the South Art Therapy Association traveled to help contribute with the project.
Montemayor’s vision of the ‘Phoenix’ will stand as a reminder of the strength of the community and its people. Says Montemayor: “This is much more than a mosaic. This is a visual landmark that tells the story of a community that is strong, that loves, that celebrates, that heals. Everyone that made a tile for this mural and everyone who comes and views this mural becomes a part of the community just by being a witness to everyone’s story. This is something that will teach people who move to the neighborhood about what this neighborhood has gone through.”