A group of Amarillo residents is hoping local artists and students will join them in an endeavor designed to help preserve North Heights neighborhood history.
“We are part of a citizens group that has taken on a project called the North Heights Art Project,” Melynn Huntley, a North Heights Arts Committee member, said. “The idea is we’re losing the history of lots of our neighborhoods in Amarillo. As a group we have worked to identify key locations that are significant to the history of Amarillo. We want to capture some of these sites before they're gone and tell the stories of why their significant to the neighborhood.”
Huntley said North Heights Art Project officials have established the dates of Sept. 28 through Oct. 8 as a means of inviting artists to go to various locations throughout the neighborhood and in whatever their preferred medium, create. Artists would submit their work for consideration, with the standard being whether the pieces are family acceptable. She said the participation of Amarillo Independent School District art teachers and their students has also been sought.
“I am just thrilled because we have waited so long for this,” Mayor Ginger Nelson said. “The tipping point for our city is when we all begin to care about each other so much that it doesn’t matter what neighborhood you live in. You all have come forward and noted you will lead the effort that will honor, sustain and promote our history. It’s an emotional moment and we thank you for your effort.”
North Heights Art Project organizers said they will host an art show at the United Citizens Forum in late January while inviting the community to view items that will be for sale. Half of the proceeds would go to the artists, with the other half benefiting North Heights Community programs.
“Melynn invited me to be a part of this project,” Jason Boyett, chairman of the Amarillo Beautification and Public Arts Board, said. “Almost from the beginning we have been working together on this. It is an arts project and a public project. We want to be able to express to the artists why these buildings were important to the North Heights area. One of the struggles as a writer and researcher is there is not a lot of information about these places. I’ve exhausted almost all of the print materials on many of these buildings, so now we are relying on the oral history of the area. I think there is some value in just producing a document detailing what these structures meant to the community 70 years ago, 30 years ago or today.”