COVID-19 brings new meaning to Hi, How Are You mural

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Hi, How Are You mural has called a side of the Goodall Wooten building sitting at the corner of Guadalupe and 21st streets home for over 25 years.

When American Campus Communities bought the building two years ago, they promised to preserve and promote the message now associated with the four simple words.

Saturday, for World Mental Health Day, they plan to do so with a free virtual concert featuring artists such as Lucius, Kate Davis, Jeff Tweedy and more.

“The goal is to destigmatize the shame around mental health issues and really create a culture that promotes open dialogue,” said Jason Wills, the college housing company’s senior vice president.

American Campus Communities (ACC) teamed up with the Hi, How Are You Project to survey its student tenants. More than 12,000 students from across the country responded.

The survey found 85% of them are more stressed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When asked what they do to relieve that stress, Wills said 84% of students said, “when they’re feeling anxiety and stress they turn to music.”

Thus, the concert, a free event to help students unwind.

“Even if you’re not experiencing a symptom of depression or anxiety, we’re all still feeling attention and it’s not familiar with that and win people over time so it’s really important that we’re proactive with our mental well-being,” said Tom Gimbel, co-founder of the Hi, How Are You Project.

At present, ACC houses around 6,000 of Austin’s college students, with plans to expand. The Goodall Wooten building where Jeremiah The Innocent stands tall will be transformed into a new student housing community. At this time, American Campus Communities does not have a design. They’re also waiting on the small businesses currently housed in the building to make a decision — stay or leave.

“When you build a new building the rent structure may change, the resources may change, so they have not committed to us yet,” Wills explained.

He added they will continue to work with the business to find the best solution.

At present, Wooten Barbershop’s owner said he’s not going anywhere. Those at Teji’s Indian Restaurant said they’re unsure what the future holds, especially since the pandemic hit.

Wills said they would like to break ground on a new building within the next two years. When it comes to the mural, they’re working with the Austin Creative Alliance to figure out the best option to preserve it.

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