HOUSTON (KIAH)– The Children’s Assessment Center, also known as The CAC, is one of the largest advocacy centers in the nation. Its mission works to help protect children, heal families and preventing child sexual abuse and child sex trafficking. The CAC has provided over 6,000 services to children and families across Houston and Harris County.

Today, local Houston artist, Justin Garcia is helping the CAC bring its mission to life through art with a mural unveiling. This collaboration started over the past two summers to help create an uplifting space for self-care and community for staff and community partners. Garcia along with volunteers helped create two murals with the words ‘HOPE’ and ‘PROTECT.’

Garcia said, ” It’s about breaking through barriers and the walls that we place in front of us. That was the original thesis behind my work that you see that’s very iconic. This particular piece is like seeing what’s beyond the intangible borders and walls that we place in ourselves and around us. Specifically for this project, the wall is backed up to all of the departments in (The CAC) itself, breaking through the walls so that everybody outside sees what’s happening inside the facility for both the kids but also honoring, respecting, and acknowledging all the departments do.”

The two murals are the start of a five-year partnership with Garcia. The HOPE mural, created in Spring and Summer of 2022 is one with a backdrop of multicolored hearts graffitied on the wall that shows how hope shines through the CAC’s building. Inside the mural in the hearts, you can find words such as ‘heard,’ ‘safe,’ ‘amazing,’ ‘helpful,’ ‘calming,’ and ’empowering.’ These words were all chosen by CAC clients and placed onto the mural by staff and volunteers.

The second mural, PROTECT will be unveiled today with a mixture of multi-colored shields representing the work from CAC staff, partners and prevention efforts to help families. The word ‘Protect’ represents the CAC’s mission to protect all children within the community. The mural will wrap up soon and be ready to unveil later this year for the community. “I have been born and raised here, and I’d rather be leading and pushing this forward and bringing awareness to this issue,” Garcia said. ” So, I am excited to bring more big projects and concepts over the years to roll out.”