Perhaps nothing symbolizes the rebirth of the Hammond fields clubhouse more than the mural painted by Sam Rodriguez and the Walls for Justice organization of which he is the director. His baseball and football motif captures the sports history of this site and the pride of the Olney neighborhood.
Sam just got the assignment to paint the mural less than a week before the dedication, and he and his team had to work fast. The first three days were spent working on a design for the mural leaving just two days to actually paint the mural. That tight timetable was reduced even further when Sam found union painters hard at work repainting the graffiti laden walls just two days before the October 23 dedication.
“It was too crowded to work,” Sam said. “So we basically had to paint the mural in one day, but we got it done.”
Sam, 31, is an Olney native and resident, but his work can be seen throughout the city and is even displayed in places like New Jersey and Salt Lake City. He started painting when he was a student of Olney High. He worked on a local project undertaken by the famous Mural Arts program, and he has worked for them ever since. But he started Walls For Justice, http://wallsforjustice.org/, in 2020 when he was moved by the public protest over the killing of George Floyd. The organization’s motto is apt….Protesting with a Paintbrush!
“I wanted to become a catalyst for hope and change,” he said. “The art helps to give voice to people who are marginalized.”
Sam is a big guy, but he is deceptively mild-mannered and a real gentleman. Watch this video, and you can see for yourself:
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Feliz Filadelfia is proud to have Sam Rodriguez and Walls for Justice as a partner.