Photos: In the wake of tragedy, Uvalde residents look to murals for healing

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More than 21 vibrant murals cover the town of Uvalde after artists from all over Texas created memorials to the victims of the Robb Elementary school shooting.

“The downtown has been turned into this open air gallery. Educating [people], not only about the kids, but their stories and their lives,” said Abel Ortiz-Acosta, a local art teacher and organizer of the mural project.

Ortiz-Acosta worked with MAS Cultura, an Austin-based group that supports Latino artists, to pair artists with families of the victims. Family members shared details of their loved ones’ lives to create the personalized murals.

In July and August, the artists worked though hundred-degree heat and deep into the night to create the portraits. An occasional car would cruise slowly by, or stop to take photos of their progress. Residents brought the artists water, burgers and tacos and stopped to thank them for their work on the project.

Artists Gabi Magaly, Ana Hernández, and Abel Ortiz-Acosta talk and take a break while family members of Maite Rodriguez work to paint a small section of the mural in her memory in Uvalde July 24, 2022.

Abel Ortiz-Acosta chats with the artists while family members of Maite Rodriguez paint a small section of the mural in her memory in Uvalde on July 24, 2022. Credit: Evan L'Roy/The Texas Tribune

Families and friends of the people who died also picked up paint brushes to contribute to the artwork.

“That’s the whole idea of some of these murals. That’s why we allow the families to come in and fill in an area,” Ortiz-Acosta said. “This is your family, this is part of your life. But it’s also part of the history of this community. In that sense, the healing begins with these murals.”

In late October, artists from San Antonio added the last touches to the final mural of the project, titled “Remember Their Names.” In this mural, all 21 victims are represented together.

“We’re never going to forget them, their faces — that’s why they had to be portraits,” Ortiz-Acosta said. “The murals provide a place where [the families] can celebrate. In the cemetery it’s somber. Here, it’s a celebration of their lives.”


Makenna Lee Elrod

East Nopal Street and U.S. Route 83

A mural in memory of Makenna Lee Elrod, one of the 21 Robb Elementary school shooting victims in Uvalde on Oct. 22, 2022.

A mural in memory of Makenna Lee Elrod in Uvalde on Oct. 22. Credit: Evan L'Roy/The Texas Tribune

Layla Salazar

North East Street and East Nopal Street

A mural in memory of Layla Salazar near the town plaza in Uvalde, on Sept. 6, 2022.

A mural in memory of Layla Salazar near the town plaza in Uvalde on Sept. 6. Credit: Evan L'Roy/The Texas Tribune

Maranda Mathis

West Roberts Lane and North West Street

A mural in memory of Miranda Mathis near the town plaza in Uvalde, on Sept. 6, 2022.

A mural in memory of Maranda Mathis on the side of the law office of Jerry D. Evans near the town plaza in Uvalde on Sept. 6. Credit: Evan L'Roy/The Texas Tribune

Eva Mireles

North East Street and East Nopal Street

Maggie Mireles, Eva Mireles' sister, cries as she watches friends and family help to finish a mural in her sisters memory in Uvalde on July 17, 2022. Each of the 21 victims of the Robb Elementary shooting will receive a mural painted by artists from across Texas.

Friends and family members of Eva Mireles embrace as the mural nears completion in Uvalde on July 17. Credit: Evan L'Roy/The Texas Tribune

Maggie Mireles cries as she watches friends and family help to finish a mural in memory of her sister, Eva Mireles, in Uvalde on July 17, 2022. Each of the 21 victims of the Robb Elementary shooting will receive a mural painted by artists from across Texas.

Maggie Mireles cries as she watches people finish the mural in memory of her sister, Eva Mireles, in Uvalde on July 17. Credit: Evan L'Roy/The Texas Tribune

Rojelio Torres

115 N. West St.

A mural in memory of Rojelio Torres near the town plaza in Uvalde, on Sept. 6, 2022.

A mural in memory of Rojelio Torres on the side of a Security Finance building near the town plaza in Uvalde on Sept. 6. Credit: Evan L'Roy/The Texas Tribune

Tess Marie Mata

114 W. Main St.

A mural in memory of Tess Marie Mata near the town plaza in Uvalde, on Sept. 6, 2022.

A mural in memory of Tess Marie Mata on the side of the Once Upon a Time clothing store near the town plaza in Uvalde on Sept. 6. Credit: Evan L'Roy/The Texas Tribune

Jose Manuel Flores Jr.

North East Street and East Nopal Street

A mural in memory of Jose Manuel Flores Jr. near the town plaza in Uvalde, on Sept. 6, 2022.

A mural in memory of Jose Manuel Flores Jr. near the town plaza in Uvalde on Sept. 6. Credit: Evan L'Roy/The Texas Tribune

Eliahna “Ellie” Amyah Garcia

115 N. West St.

A mural in memory of Eliahna Garcia in of near the town plaza in Uvalde, on Sept. 6, 2022.

A mural in memory of Eliahna “Ellie” Amyah Garcia on the side of a Security Finance building near the town plaza in Uvalde on Sept. 6. Credit: Evan L'Roy/The Texas Tribune

Maite Rodriguez

North East Street and East Nopal Street

Ana Rodriguez paints a small blue fish as part of the mural in memory of daughter, Maite, with the help of her sons, Adrean and Caleb, in Uvalde July 24, 2022.

Ana Rodriguez and her sons, Adrean and Caleb, paint a small blue fish as part of the mural in memory of her daughter, Maite, in Uvalde on July 24. Credit: Evan L'Roy for The Texas Tribune

Family and friends of Maite Rodriguez gather to watch the painting process for the mural in her memory in Uvalde July 24, 2022.

Family members and friends of Maite Rodriguez gather to watch the painting of the mural in Uvalde on July 24. Credit: Evan L'Roy for The Texas Tribune

Friends and family look at the mock up drawing of Maite's mural in Uvalde July 24, 2022.

Friends and family look at the mock up drawing of Maite's mural in Uvalde July 24, 2022. Credit: Evan L'Roy for The Texas Tribune

Ana Rodriguez paints a small blue fish as part of the mural in memory of daughter, Maite, with the help of her sons in Uvalde July 24, 2022.

Ana Rodriguez, wearing green converse earrings, paints a small blue fish as part of the mural in memory of daughter, Maite, on July 24, 2022. Credit: Evan L'Roy for The Texas Tribune

First: Friends and family members look at the mock-up of Maite’s mural. Last: Ana Rodriguez, wearing green Converse earrings, paints a small blue fish on the mural on July 24. Credit: Evan L'Roy/The Texas Tribune

Annabell Rodriguez

North East Street and East Nopal Street

A partially completed mural in memory of Annabell Rodriguez, with a reserved spot for Xavier Lopez to the left, in Uvalde on July 17, 2022.

A partially completed mural in memory of Annabell Rodriguez, with a reserved spot for Xavier Lopez to the left, in Uvalde on July 17. Credit: Evan L'Roy/The Texas Tribune

Xavier Lopez

North East Street and East Nopal Street

A mural in memory of Xavier Lopez near the town plaza in Uvalde, on Sept. 6, 2022.

A mural in memory of Xavier Lopez near the town plaza in Uvalde on Sept. 6. Credit: Evan L'Roy/The Texas Tribune

Eliahna A. Torres

North East Street and East Nopal Street

A mural in memory of Eliahna A. Torres near the town plaza in Uvalde, on Sept. 6, 2022.

A mural in memory of Eliahna A. Torres near the town plaza in Uvalde on Sept. 6. Credit: Evan L'Roy/The Texas Tribune

Jackie Cazares

West Roberts Lane and North West Street

Family members of Jackie Cazares visit a memorial in her memory, in Uvalde, on Aug. 12, 2022.

Family members of Jackie Cazares visit a memorial in her memory in Uvalde on Aug. 12. Credit: Evan L'Roy for The Texas Tribune

Jayce Carmelo Luevanos

North East Street and East Nopal Street

A mural in memory of Jayce Carmelo Luevanos near the town plaza in Uvalde, on Sept. 6, 2022.

A mural in memory of Jayce Carmelo Luevanos near the town plaza in Uvalde on Sept. 6. Credit: Evan L'Roy/The Texas Tribune

Irma and Joe Garcia

North High Street and West Roberts Lane

A mural in memory of Irma and Joe Garcia near the town plaza in Uvalde, on Sept. 6, 2022.

A mural in memory of Irma and Joe Garcia near the town plaza in Uvalde on Sept. 6. Credit: Evan L'Roy/The Texas Tribune

A mural in memory of Irma and Joe Garcia near the town plaza in Uvalde, on Sept. 6, 2022.

A mural in memory of Irma and Joe Garcia near the town plaza in Uvalde on Sept. 6. Credit: Evan L'Roy/The Texas Tribune

Jailah Nicole Silguero

North East Street and East Nopal Street

A mural in memory of Jailah Nicole Silguero near the town plaza in Uvalde, on Sept. 6, 2022.

A mural in memory of Jailah Nicole Silguero near the town plaza in Uvalde on Sept. 6. Credit: Evan L'Roy/The Texas Tribune

Uziyah Garcia

North East Street and East Nopal Street

Family members and friends of Uziyah Garcia view a freshly completed mural in his memory in Uvalde on July 17, 2022. Each of the 21 victims of the Robb Elementary shooting will receive a mural painted by artists from across Texas.

Family members and friends of Uziyah Garcia view a freshly completed mural in his memory in Uvalde on July 17. Credit: Evan L'Roy/The Texas Tribune

Nevaeh Bravo

115 N. West St.

A mural in memory of Nevaeh Bravo near the town plaza in Uvalde, on Sept. 6, 2022.

A mural in memory of Nevaeh Bravo on the side of a Security Finance building near the town plaza in Uvalde on Sept. 6. Credit: Evan L'Roy/The Texas Tribune

Alexandria “Lexi” Rubio

East North Street and Hornby Place

A mural in memory of Alexandria “Lexi” Aniyah Rubi near the town plaza in Uvalde, on Sept. 6, 2022.

A mural in memory of Alexandria “Lexi” Rubio near the town plaza in Uvalde on Sept. 6. Credit: Evan L'Roy/The Texas Tribune

Amerie Jo Garza

North East Street and East Nopal Street

San Antonio artist Cristina Sosa Noriega paints a mural in memory of Amerie Jo Garza in Uvalde on July 17, 2022. Each of the 21 victims of the Robb Elementary shooting will receive a mural painted by artists from across Texas.

San Antonio artist Cristina Sosa Noriega paints a mural in memory of Amerie Jo Garza in Uvalde on July 17. Credit: Evan L'Roy/The Texas Tribune

Alithia Ramirez

227 N. Getty St.

A mural in memory of Alithia Ramirez in Uvalde, on Nov. 2, 2022.

A mural in memory of Alithia Ramirez on the side of the Art Lab Contemporary Art Space in Uvalde on July 17. Credit: Evan L'Roy/The Texas Tribune

“Remember Their Names”

North East Street and East Nopal Street

Marco Vargas, a San Antonio based artist, lines up ladders as he prepares to begin work on the final mural in memory of the 21 Robb Elementary school shooting victims on the side of the Henry De Osso building in Uvalde on Oct. 22, 2022. The final mural will be a collage of the names of the victims, each with different styles.

Marco Vargas, a San Antonio-based artist, lines up ladders as he prepares to work on the final mural in memory of the 21 Robb Elementary school shooting victims on the side of the St. Henry De Osso Family Project in Uvalde on Oct. 22. The final mural is a collage of the names of the victims, each in a different style. Credit: Evan L'Roy/The Texas Tribune

San Antonio artists work into the night on the final mural in memory of the 21 Robb Elementary school shooting victims on the side of the Henry De Osso building in Uvalde on Oct. 22, 2022.

San Antonio artists work into the night on the final mural in memory of the 21 Robb Elementary school shooting victims on the side of the Henry De Osso building in Uvalde on Oct. 22, 2022. Credit: Evan L'Roy/The Texas Tribune

The final mural with all the names of the Uvalde shooting victims on the side of the Henry De Osso building in Uvalde, on Nov. 2, 2022.

The final "Remember Their Names" mural with names of all the lives lost to the Uvalde school shooting, on Nov. 2, 2022. Credit: Evan L'Roy/The Texas Tribune

Clarification, Nov. 3, 2022: This story has been updated to reflect a name change in the "Don't Forget Their Names" mural. It is now called "Remember Their Names."