MIAMI – A local artist has created a new mural in the Route 66 Art Park on Main Street in Miami as a message of hope and encouragement during today’s trying times.

Artist Jeanette Hughes of Fairland is a senior Visual Art major at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin and was supposed to graduate in May.

Although she will still finish there, there will be no celebratory walk across the stage in front of family, fellow students, and friends due to the coronavirus shutdowns.

One of Hughes’ final assignments was to create a mural and she decided to use art to create a show of support for us all during the pandemic.

Her mural is titled “We’re All In This Together.”

“Jeanette says art has always been a part of her life because her grandmother always drew pictures while she told stories to her grandchildren. When she had to give up a nursing career due to health issues, art also became therapeutic for her and allowed her to have a venue to express pain, frustrations, and victories. She considers it a lifesaver,” said Marcia Johnson, Director of Library, Arts & Culture for the City of Miami.

Hughes has been very active in working with the Miami Arts and Humanities Council for several years, painting murals during Mural Fest, helping with the Art for Fun Camp, and hosting a booth during the Art Walks.

She hopes to continue working with the local arts, to continue to expand her painting and photography work, and to offer art lessons for youth.

When asked why the arts are important during this time, Hughes said, “The arts are what people see when they are out and about, or in books, magazines, on TV, or wherever. We are strong when we work together, but we all are stronger when we know we are loved and appreciated, and we still need reminders when we get slack. Whether it’s a message of hope, caution, or a thank you, people need to see it.”