New 'Turtle Soup' mural unveiled in continued effort to beautify East End Houston

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Saturday, December 16, 2017
'Turtle Soup' mural unveiled in effort to beautify East End
The "Turtle Soup" mural in East End Houston was designed by famous artist "Magnolia Grown" Jesse Rodriguez.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Part of the East End of Houston is looking more bright and colorful, and it's all part of an effort to beautify what some have called an eyesore.

On Monday, artist Jesse Rodriguez, also known as Magnolia Grown, unveiled his latest masterpiece "Turtle Soup."

The 260-foot long concrete wall on JW Peavy Drive was transformed into a mural, painted by renowned local graffiti artist Pilot FX Adam Socie with UP Art Studio and designed by Rodriguez.

The ocean-themed mural features a sea turtle, some fish, jellyfish and dolphins all done with spray paint.

"This is my background. This is where I played when I was a kid. Coming back here everything was gray, trashy and dirty. Today we sit here, I look behind me and it's bright, beautiful, colored, clean," Rodriguez said.

"The difference that whole project made is a night and day difference," Socie said.

Socie, who has done graffiti art around the Houston area for several years, said he found an image of a turtle and wanted to somehow work that into the East End project.

"I do a lot of nature-related paintings. Growing up in a very urban environment, it's something I didn't usually see," Socie said.

The mural took about four to five days to complete with the help of some of Socie's friends from New York City and Mexico.

The beautification efforts are part of an ongoing project by Greater East End Management District (GEEMD), which provides services and conducts improvements throughout 16 square miles of the District.

"The District's grant-funded capital program focuses on connecting neighborhoods and business to transit, and will result in $31 million in improvements through 2017," according to GEEMD.

The new mural was also the result of more than 300 veteran and student volunteers who cleared overgrown foliage along part of JW Peavy Drive, which revealed an abandoned railroad spur. It was converted into a walking trail.

GEEMD has received recognition from Keep Houston Beautiful and has been awarded the 2017 Mayor's Proud Partner Award.

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