Check out this new mural in the tunnel between Shades Cahaba Elementary + The Pig

Read Time 3 Minutes

Lisa Holland and Jennifer Andress in front of Shades Cahaba Elementary
Shades Cahaba art teacher Lisa Holland and Councilor Jennifer Andress in front of Shades Cahaba Elementary on the school-end opening of the tunnel. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

For many children, the pandemic has disrupted a lot of what’s fun about being a kid. In response, Shades Cahaba Elementary art teacher Lisa Holland decided to create a community-based art project that celebrates Alabama’s biodiversity and the “Shades Cahaba Way.” Keep reading for all the details.

What’s happening: the vision for the Shades Cahaba mural

Shades Cahaba mural at entrance to the tunnel
Looking at the tunnel from the Shades Cahaba side. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

When it’s done, the mural will celebrate Alabama’s biodiversity, Homewood’s skyline and the “Shades Cahaba Way.”

Here are some of the features Holland said travelers through the tunnel will be able to enjoy:

  • Images celebrating Alabama as “America’s Amazon” with 137,000 miles of river throughout the state, more species in the Cahaba River than in the entire state of Colorado.
  • Homewood’s skyline, to be painted by Blank Space Bham.
  • Ground painted by the younger grades at Shades Cahaba.
  • Sky painted by 5th graders.
  • A Shades Cahaba owl, to be painted by Homewood artist Moses Presnell.

The Shades Cahaba Way: 6 life lessons

Kids painting the Shades Cahaba mural
Kids prepping the walls of the new mural. Photo via Jennifer Andress, Homewood City Council, Ward 5, Place 1’s Facebook

The “Shades Cahaba Way” is the staple of a nationally-awarded character education program that helped the school win a National School of Character award.

It’s comprised of six life lessons to guide kids:

  1. Speak for yourself…and others when needed
  2. Listen to others…and they will listen to you
  3. Avoid put-downs…who needs them?
  4. Take charge of yourself…you are responsible for you
  5. Give your best effort…your work represents you
  6. Have fun…life is a gift!

Who’s behind the Shades Cahaba mural

Lisa Holland and Jennifer Andress at the entrance to the tunnel where the Shades Cahaba mural is
Art teacher Lisa Holland with runner and Councilor Jennifer Andress. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

Councilor Andress reached out to Lisa Holland and Dr. Lowry with the idea for a mural in the tunnel. Lisa Holland took the idea and ran with it, with support from the City of Homewood, Blank Space Bham and of course the Shades Cahaba Elementary community.

Why the Shades Cahaba mural matters

Shades Cahaba tunnel, where the mural will be
The tunnel’s primed and ready. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

We asked Lisa Holland and Jennifer Andress what the project means to them. Here’s what they said:

“Collaborative art projects are a big part of my heart. I remember working on them as a student—they’re one of my favorite things to do. This is about as big as a collaborative art project can get. This will leave a legacy for the Shades Cahaba Way and for the students, who’ve literally put their hands on it and helped do it. We’ve found that community support is really important, and this skyline of Homewood will help draw everyone in.”

Lisa Holland, Shades Cahaba Elementary

“I’m a runner and I go through this tunnel all the time. Homewood is a very central location that people love to come to from all over the area to run, walk, shop and eat. This is another neat thing people can add to their list of things to do. It’s great for us who live here, it can brighten our day as we walk through the tunnel and look at our beautiful school and our wonderful kids. It’s great for people who come see us, too.

I love Lisa’s recent comment on TV that these kids haven’t had field trips, mystery readers, parent volunteers helping out, mom coming to eat lunch with them because it’s their birthday. But they are doing this right now. This is big time—they’ll be able to point to this years down the road and say ‘I did that.'”

Councilor Jennifer Andress, Homewood City Council, Ward 5, Place 1

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