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Students and Community Give Atlanta Heights Charter School a New Look on Paint Day

As students at Atlanta Heights Charter School returned to school Tuesday, Aug. 1, they entered what might have felt like an entirely different building with new, beautiful colors and art adorning the hallways.

Dean of Upper Elementary Deonte Bridges solicited the support of the community and partnered with local nonprofits Art in the Paint, Impactful Brush, and Learning in Color to host CommUNITY Paint Day on Saturday, July 8. As a graduate of Booker T. Washington High School and Morehouse College, the event was part of Bridges’ aspiration to galvanize neighborhood members and build a stronger sense of community around the scholars and families he and his colleagues serve. Those who volunteered painted alongside other artists, connected with members of the community, and helped beautify the school’s interior.

Deonte Bridges and community members.
Deonte Bridges, left, facilitated partnerships with nonprofits as students and local residents came to Atlanta Heights Charter School for CommUNITY Paint Day on July 8.

“It was a beautiful thing to witness the community come together,” Bridges said. “Not only the students and the staff to do something collectively, but to invite members of the community inside to see some of the great things that are happening in it and Atlanta Heights.”

View of hallway at Atlanta Heights.

With funding from the South Fulton Institute, renowned muralist Aysha Pennerman of Impactful Brush installed a mural that pays homage to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the greater Adamsville community, while Arelious Cooper of Art in the Paint and Carol Bowman of Learning in Color helped to facilitate the other portions of the beautification project.

Small child painting wall.
Students as young as kindergarten got in on the action on the CommUNITY Paint Day.

“When Learning in Color was asked by Art in The Paint and Deonte Bridges to be a part of this collaboration to bring vibrant color and meaningful art to Atlanta Heights Charter School, there was no way that we couldn’t play our part,” Bowman said. “Our belief is that children should be educated in color-rich, art-filled learning environments where they are inspired and motivated to learn. We hope that when the students, staff, and community members walk onto this campus that they are energized and recognize that they are valued, respected and that we wish them nothing but the best.”

Artist working on mural.

Bridges said 60 to 70 people pitched in on CommUNITY Paint Day, ranging from incoming kindergartners beautifying the building in their first time at the school to local chairmen and business owners. It was a rewarding experience to witness the collaboration and be part of a collective effort to do something positive in the neighborhood.

Girl painting.

“It was a beautiful thing to witness, the smiles on their face, being able to stand and work alongside the business owners and local chairman and politicians and beautify the school,” he said.

Once the colorfully painted walls were dry, Atlanta Heights Charter School received an installation of portraits from the Besharat Arts Foundation, an organization committed to bringing to schools works of art that inspire empathy and understanding. Atlanta Heights is the 366th school to receive an installation globally and the 177th school to do so domestically.

Martin Luther King Jr. mural.
The hallways of Atlanta Heights are now adorned with art!
While the inside of the school has been transformed, the work isn’t complete; students are in for another surprise as efforts have already started to bring a much-needed facelift to the exterior of the school. With sponsorship from United Healthcare and support from Art in the Paint, Atlanta Heights students will be able to enjoy their time outdoors on a newly designed and painted basketball court and blacktop that will feature a number of positive images and fun activities in which they can engage.

Great job, Atlanta Heights community!

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About Atlanta Heights Charter School:
Atlanta Heights Charter School is a tuition-free, public charter school in Atlanta, Georgia, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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