By Raegan Scharfetter/managing editor
Burleson mural honors community icon
Burleson has a new outdoor work of art, courtesy of Colombian-American artist and TR Campus adjunct instructor Bernardo Vallarino.
The “Kindness Matters” 133-by-15-foot mural comes with a fundraiser benefiting a local nonprofit organization, according to the project’s press release. The nonprofit will be chosen by members of the community from the nominations on the project’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/kindnessmattersmural.
Neighbors and friends assisted painting on the mural on selected Sundays in October through December to help achieve the 100×100 (100 donations of $100) fundraising goal.
The national “Kindness Matters” campaign originated in 2013 after 13-year-old Payton A. James took his life, Vallarino said. The phrase had been used in Burleson prior to the project and can be seen throughout the city on banners and signs.
“As I read a sign placed in a front yard, I realized that the message had dual applications. It can be used locally to build community, but it also can be used as a social commentary with national and global relevance,” he said. “Beyond the phrase, I began to look for other symbols that would relate back to Burleson, community and kindness.”
The heart with the longhorns is meant to symbolize Texas kindness while the ants represent community, cooperation, strength and unity. The last symbol is the fingerprint of the building’s original owner, Richard Bransom, because of his kindness and philanthropy, Vallarino said.
“This project is as important as any of my other artworks,” he said. “Each art piece is executed with a heightened attention of the people who the artwork is referential to. In the case of the ‘Kindness Matters’ mural, I have been mentally aware of the disenfranchised, and I am hoping that the mural becomes a humanistic message of kindness and respect.”
Although “Kindness Matters” is not Vallarino’s first mural, it is the first public artwork directly connected to his professional body of work.
“I believe that the content, location and meaning of the work has the potential to inspire and affect a large number of people,” he said. “And I hope that the enormity of the artwork can be measured by actions of positive social change rather than by inches.”
Beyond its artistic intent, the mural has become a sort of memorial for Bransom. It represents all the wonderful things he did and all the valuable things he and his family stand for, Vallarino said.
Bransom’s daughter, Camille, is Vallarino’s project partner for the mural.
“The most important background story in the mural is Richard Bransom, my project partner Camille Bransom’s father,” he said. “Mr. Bransom could be considered a local icon associated with numerous acts of altruism, from allowing people to have free groceries from his store in the time of hardship to countless hours of volunteer work in the community. His legacy of kindness is evident on the faces of the local residents when they become aware that the pattern on the mural is his fingerprint.”
The mural is located on the west side of City Market at 200 E. Renfro in Burleson’s Old Town.