A sister act is raising awareness about mental health through a Kerrville mural

Kerrville twin sisters work to raise awareness about mental health during their winter break from New York universities.

Pilar and Carmela Garcia are twins, their bond undeniable, but that doesn’t mean they’re always on the same page.

Pilar and Carmela Garcia stand in front of their Jefferson Street mural project.

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During her senior year at Tivy High School, Pilar Garcia tackled her final project for her Advanced Placement Art class with a study of the sisters sitting back-to-back, one buoyant and happy, the other with her head buried in folded arms across her knees. In turn, it was a tale of mental health — not everyone is always happy.

That work is now becoming an expansive mural along Jefferson Street across from the Kerrville Daily Times. The Garcias are painting the mural during their winter breaks. Pilar Garcia attends Cornell University, while her sister attends Syracuse University.

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“The focus has shifted to mental health,” Pilar Garcia explained. “It’s OK, to be up and down.”

The project is part of the Big Seed Arts movement, which aims to increase artistic opportunities for Kerr County youth, with underwriting from Peterson Health.

The sisters are graduates of Tivy High School, where they excelled academically and on the soccer pitch. However, their upbringing has been one of a cosmopolitan flavor. The sisters’ parents are teachers, and they taught internationally in Taiwan and Malaysia. The stay in Malaysia consumed the sisters’ sophomore and junior years at Tivy.

At Cornell, Pilar Garcia is studying architecture — a practice she began learning at the Ivy League university on day one. Carmela Garcia is studying interior design. It’s the first time the sisters have been apart, but their return home to Kerrville has had one challenge.

“The sharing a bedroom has been rough,” Carmella admits with a sly smile.

The initial work featured help from their father, Marty, who is Tivy’s art teacher and soccer coach. Marty Garcia helped his daughters scale the mural up and then helped outline it via projection. Garcia’s daughters are not impressed with his one artistic contribution — a study of Carmela’s big toe.

“We don’t like the toe,” they said in unison.

The sisters hope to have the mural finished by the end of the week and then back to school. However, their work will be long-lasting and another mural to add to Kerrville’s growing collection.

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