March 30, 2023
Annapolis, US 43 F

Annapolis High and The Light House Celebrate Community and Art

Annapolis High School Art Students and Staff, County Officials, and Light House Staff pose in front of murals displayed in the Light House family room area (Photo Credit: Megan Evans Photography)

On February 28th, The Light House Homeless Prevention Support Center hosted a Celebration of Community and Art to unveil 12 new murals that were designed and painted by over 200 Annapolis High School Art Students. For this event, The Light House welcomed Annapolis High School Art Students and their families, Anne Arundel County officials, Light House staff, residents, and other supporters to celebrate the students’ hard work.

The event kicked off in The Light House community room, where attendees gathered to hear speakers give remarks and unveil the community room murals. Speakers, including Jessica Jackman, MFA, Annapolis High School Visual Arts Educator, Delegate Dana Jones, Anne Arundel County District 30A, Dr. Mark T. Bedell, Ed.D., Superintendent of Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Heather Cassity, Light House Executive Director, and Sarah E. Ryan, Light House Director of Community Engagement, congratulated the students on their hard work and gave remarks on the importance of this collaboration.

All photos: Megan Evans Photography

Following the community room kick-off, students and other attendees were allowed to tour Light House spaces and see the murals on display throughout the building. The creative process for this project was predominantly student-led, and they spent months designing and painting murals that would suit the unique spaces at The Light House.

This semester-long collaboration was coordinated by Jessica Jackman, MFA, Annapolis High School Visual Arts Educator, and Sarah E. Ryan, Light House Director of Community Engagement. Before Annapolis High School’s 2022 fall semester began, Jessica Jackman reached out to The Light House to see if there was a way her students could get involved. Sarah E. Ryan shared that there were currently many spaces in the building that could benefit from student art, and together they began to plan the mural project. 

“I knew the kids would be excited by a project for The Light House,” stated Jessica Jackman during her speech at the event. “It is such a good opportunity for our students to see their art displayed and feel like what they are doing in the classroom has a place in the real world and that it makes a difference.” 

At the start of this project, Sarah E. Ryan visited Annapolis High School and spoke to the art students. She shared information about how The Light House serves the community and how their artwork could positively impact their spaces and programs. The students learned that The Light House is a place that individuals and families from all walks of life call home, including from the many different areas around Anne Arundel County. They also learned that The Light House is a place where community members who are chronically homeless, newly homeless, or at risk of homelessness are welcomed. These community members are given access to programs including pantry items, shower, and laundry facilities, case management services, and other simple dignities such as sitting down in their community room for a warm meal. Students reflected on the many diverse neighborhoods and communities in which they call home and how they could best represent this through art. They reflected on what Annapolis and the community mean to them and what it might mean to those who receive services at The Light House. 

The end result of this project is 12 beautiful murals, each painted on an 8-foot by 4-foot wooden panel. These finished murals are now mounted in four different areas of The Light House, including the entryway, community room, and employment resource center on the main floor, as well as the shared family room area and the children’s play area on the third floor.

“Our 24,000 square foot facility provides homelessness prevention and support services to over 100 community members in need each day,” stated Sarah E. Ryan. “A lot happens within these walls, and having a warm and inviting environment is an important part of who we are as an organization. It is vital that our spaces reflect the incredible community we serve, and we are so grateful that Jessica Jackman and her many talented students took on this project and put their hearts and talent into the designs. When you see these murals on our walls, you can see that they were made with love. They are a shining example of community art.”

Through various homelessness prevention and support services, The Light House serves over 2,500 community members in need each year. These programs and services rely on support from local donors and volunteers. If you are interested in getting involved with The Light House or are in need of help, please visit their website at

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