‘Spread love’: AISD student hoisted in air to autograph her billboard artwork


AUSTIN (KXAN) — An AISD student ascended to new heights to autograph her artwork Thursday morning.

Austin Fire Department hoisted Biak Par in the air with a ladder truck to put her signature to the sign. She is a senior at Northeast high school.

“I was pretty nervous,” Par laughed. “I’m scared of heights, but it was kind of fun.”

Par’s submission is featured on the Montopolis Drive billboard. She won the district’s annual Youth Art Month contest. It was her first time taking a painting class. She credits her teacher for pushing her to submit.

“She kept telling us to be in the contest, and I was like, ‘OK, why not do it?'” Par said. “I tried and I won it.” But she didn’t think that’d be the case. “I kind of hoped for it but didn’t really think I would win,” Par laughed

This year the theme is “Peace, Love & Art.” Par chose to paint interlocking hands with a paintbrush dripping colors over the world.

Holding hands is to symbolize love. The paintbrush is art. The paint is dripping down. The hands are just black so when it touches it, it becomes colorful and brings it down to the earth and like, spread love.

Par describes her artwork
(KXAN Photo/Todd Bailey)

Paul Kretchmer, the AISD instructional coordinator for visual arts, said of the piece: “I think it’s really beautiful.

“I’m really excited to see it in such a large scale,” Kretchmer said.

He believes it’s important to get as much student artwork “out into the world” as he can, which is why Par competed against many middle schoolers and high schoolers.

“It’s really exciting to see the diversity of the work that comes to us and to be able to pick something really awesome to put out into the public for display,” Kretchmer said.

Youth Art Month

Each March, AISD holds an exhibition at its performing arts center showing artwork from each district campus. The billboard art contest promotes the event.

“It’s meant to celebrate the idea of visual arts in general for our city and our district and then to show that it’s another way high school students can find a career going forward. Just creating work to share in different ways,” Kretchmer said.

Par plans to only pursue art as a hobby, even though she won. She said she is focused on majoring in nursing.

If you don’t get a chance to drive by and see the billboard in person, the original piece will be in the AISD Youth Art Show coming up this weekend. In future years, they are considering alternating years between middle school and high school.

“We had our first middle school billboard last year and it was really awesome and we’re back to high school this year and excited about looking to see what middle school will do for us next year,” Kretchmer said.

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