How the Project Began
When talking to people about this project, I often describe it as a story of El Paso, a community that welcomed both me and the idea for bringing murals by local artists to Fort Bliss.
In 2010, my family was relocated along with my husband, an active duty soldier, to Fort Bliss, Texas. We had never lived in El Paso or visited Fort Bliss and arrived with open minds. What we found was a post in the middle of rapid expansion as part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) commission. We were impressed with the quality of the new facilities as well as the beauty of the historic neighborhoods and museums.
We were equally impressed by the community of El Paso. El Paso has a long and close history with Fort Bliss, but is by no means merely a "military town." The El Paso community with its rich culture as part of the El Paso-Ciudad Juarez-Las Cruces region, stands on its own and is a unique asset to the residents of Fort Bliss. We enrolled our then three year old daughter at Trinity First Day School, a fifty-year old local pre-school in downtown El Paso, and I applied to a doctoral program in Rhetoric and Writing Studies at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), to which I was accepted in fall 2011.
Murals at Fort Bliss was inspired by a class project assigned by Dr. John Scenters-Zapico as part of his Computers and Writing course taught at the University of Texas at El Paso. Students, including myself, were asked to create a digital mural for virtual installation at a real location. I selected Fort Bliss, and while researching the location, realized that many of the buildings constructed as part of the post's recent dramatic expansion were perfect "blank slates" for real murals.
I also knew that many of the soldiers and family members on Fort Bliss were as unfamiliar with the El Paso region as we had been when we arrived. Too often military transplants leave Fort Bliss remembering only the dust storms and intense heat, never coming in contact with the wonderful El Paso community that surrounds them. Bringing murals by local artists into facilities frequented by soldiers and family members was one way to address this gap. The local community of El Paso welcomed the idea and the project was born.
I could never have gotten this far on my own. It was the involvement of several Fort Bliss and El Paso community members that developed the bones of the project, got me in touch with the right people, educated me about the process, and offered encouragement. More about these individuals can be found on this website's Acknowledgements page.
Creator and Project Manager, Murals at Fort Bliss
Doctoral Candidate, Rhetoric and Writing Studies, Univ. of Texas at El Paso
Murals at Fort Bliss is an independent project that exists for the sole purpose of creating murals for locations on Fort Bliss. The project is not affiliated with the U.S. Army or any active duty soldier or DoD employee. All locations for murals have been approval by Fort Bliss Garrison Command, Moral Welfare and Recreation (MWR), and/or William Beaumont, as appropriate. Any murals will be gifted to the U.S. Army by approval of Fort Bliss Garrison Command and/or William Beaumont.
This project is fiscally sponsored by Paso del Norte Foundation, a non-profit whose mission is to increase the resources available to improve well-being in the Paso del Norte region. Any donations will be processed by Paso del Norte Foundation, and their name will appear on any statements recording electronic transactions.