Dr. Kelvin Adams, Dr. Art McCoy, and Hank Thompson

From Vacancy to Agency: St. Louis Murals of Redemption

Dr. Kelvin Adams, Dr. Art McCoy, and Hank Thompson

St. Louis, Missouri 63113, United States

Created By: Mural Tours


Dr. Kelvin Adams, painted on this yellow backdrop, is currently in his 11th year as the Superintendent of Schools for the St. Louis Public Schools for the 2018-2019 school year. Again, he is more of a lesser known figure, but he has been incredibly influential in the St. Louis community. In his role as Superintendent, Adams has helped the St. Louis Public School system take tremendous strides. When he first took on the position in 2008, the district had just lost its accreditation and was dealing with skyrocketing dropout rates and failing test scores. While the SLPS district still has a long way to go, Adams has largely helped to remedy the situation by turning around the financial situation, consistently increasing attendance and graduation rates, improving test scores, creating an African-centered curriculum school and a nationally recognized school for new Americans, designing an educational therapeutic support school, expanding early childhood classrooms, and much more (“Dr. Kelvin Adams Named”). While Dr. Adams himself does not have quite the same kind of story of personal redemption that a figure like Halbert Sullivan does, he represents the ongoing redemption story of the St. Louis Public School district and offers hope for other communities, organizations, and systems that have suffered from racially discriminatory policies and practices. The color yellow used in the background of this painting is truly a representation of the hope offered by this story to the North City, and the harsh lines of Dr. Adams’s suit jacket against this backdrop signifies the strength that Adams and other heroes have demonstrated in their redeeming actions. This contrast also contributes to the three-dimensional illusion of the portrait, bringing the subject closer to the viewers.

This point of interest is part of the tour: From Vacancy to Agency: St. Louis Murals of Redemption


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