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Teen artists' work highlights worldly challenges | Kids Who Make SA Great

The 'Artists in Action' project is auctioning off art to fund their school-based Mac Teach tutoring and school outreach programs.

SAN ANTONIO — Nationally recognized MacArthur High School artist Alissa Murphy leads several student artists in an event called the 'Artists in Action' project.

"The seven other artists are also, high school students are covering veteran PTSD, homelessness, battered women, children and men," Murphy said.

The high school senior recently got recognized for her piece "Trapped" by the National Art Honor Society. The piece is a rendition of two photos of her mother: One calm and one screaming. 

Credit: Courtesy: Alissa Murphy
Alissa Murphy's nationally recognized " Trapped" features her mother.

"Basically, it depicts a panic attack," she said. "I've struggled with panic attacks and anxiety for a really long time, especially in the past couple of years." 

Art, of course, calms Murphy down when she isn't swimming on the school's team. She is now using her art to help her school.

"In all the years I've been teaching, you get these students that you know, are special – and she's special," Steve Davidson said.

Davidson is Murphy's English teacher. It's Murphy's first and last year in his class, and one of their class projects struck a chord in her.

Credit: Courtesy: Alissa Murphy
Alissa Murphy said she liked art but didn't take it seriously.

"One of the things we've always done is try to create an environment within the class to end to end genocide," he said.

Through a tutoring and outreach program at the school called Mac Teach, where Davidson is the founding sponsor, Murphy decided to stretch her canvas.

"She took the time to look into it, and she was hurt by it," Davidson said.

Murphy formed the 'Artists In Action' Project, and several students artists joined her.

On Wednesday, March 30 in MacArthur High School Library, the young artists will put their work on the auction block from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. It's the first time Mac Teach has used art as a fundraiser and Murphy's first swing at non-profit work.

"She understands how to be a human being. And I know adults who don't understand that concept," Davidson said.

In Mac Teach, he's seen her help custodians clean their school. Murphy hopes her art cleans up, raising money. 

Credit: Courtesy: Alissa Murphy
Alissa Murphy said she puts in 30 to 40 hours of work on each piece before it's complete.

She puts in 30 to 40 hours per project in her grid-by-grid process to the details of realism. Murphy is inspired by what she sees and knows.

"A lot of my art explores what I've been dealing with or what I know," she said. "People around me deal with and trying to incorporate that into our work." 

She describes herself as hardworking, motivated but normal. Her battle with anxiety is under control.

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