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STEPHEN HEMELT — Artist Valerie Simoneaux’s work brightens up Boston up & down the Avenue

Visitors to Boston Avenue have certainly noticed a change in the past few years.

New businesses are open, there is a plan to redevelop nearly two acres of property once used as a 12-lane Bank of America drive thru and a large scale arch now offers a “Welkom” to the area near the intersection with Twin City Highway.

Some of my favorite parts of the new look are the accent pieces.

City crewmembers helped welcome the summer by installing 25 light poles banners featuring the images of 49 men and women with ties to Nederland who either served or are serving in the armed services.

The easy-to-read names and clear pictures of each honored serviceperson provides a reason to remember our past and appreciate the sacrifices made to provide the opportunities we all enjoy.

I think the best thing about the business and entertainment stretch is the color. Each business owner and operator has put their own spins on the buildings that line the road.

I can’t wait to see what the next group of entrepreneurs do in service of making their businesses shine.

This brings me to Valerie Simoneaux, a 19-year-old artist who dubs herself an “artreprenuer” because of a passion for art that continued to grow, inspiring her to pursue a career in a field she loves.

Her work is visible all over Boston Avenue.

She has painted two murals inside of Blanc on Boston (1205 Boston Avenue) and one mural inside Twisted Gypsy (1114 Boston Avenue). She is also working on a 23-feet long mural on Boston Avenue that says “NEDERLAND” with images in each letter representing what Nederland is about.

“I also have more murals and window paintings coming along on Boston businesses, like at The Golden Cup (1336 Boston Avenue) and Rose Nails (1223 Boston Avenue) in the near future,” Simoneaux told me this week. “Painting around town has been a goal of mine since I was little girl, so as soon as I saw Blanc on Boston looking for a mural artist, I contacted them. When I heard back from them, I was ecstatic because at that moment I could turn the dreams little me had into reality.”

Simoneaux’s NEDERLAND mural is located in the Boston Avenue Courtyard across from the Field of Tulips.

The mural is a work in progress but is “definitely” coming out how imagined, according to the artist.

“It is such a fun process being able to see the initial idea come from a piece of paper and painted onto the wall,” Simoneaux said. “It’s such a great experience. The community is really enjoying seeing the process. I’ve even conversed with a few people in the community that stated they would like the design on T-shirts and have already taken pictures in front of the mural. Hearing and seeing positive feedback like this makes me happy to know I’m able to contribute art and vibrancy to the community.”

Those who want to learn more about Simoneaux’s professional offers can visit her Facebook Business page Val’s Designz to view services and examples, as well as her Instagram page, Vals. Designz. For more information, email her at valsdesignz@gmail.com.

Stephen Hemelt is the president of Port Arthur Newsmedia, which publishes The Port Arthur News, panews.com and other products. He can be reached at stephen.hemelt@panews.com or 409-721-2445.