PHOTO GALLERY — Local mural artist unveiling latest work; ready for Heritage Festival

Published 12:38 am Friday, March 11, 2022

Cheerful Eli and Ellie the elephants float in the clouds, ready to cheer up a sick child while butterflies dance along the rainbows in the pediatric room at Golden Triangle Emergency Center.

The artist, 2020 Nederland High School graduate Valerie Simoneaux, is beginning to see her schedule as full as her palette.

Her mural work can be seen on Boston Avenue and Pathway Church in Nederland, as well as Garrett Dental and Pizza Artista in Groves.

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Katlyn Anderson, marketing coordinator at Golden Triangle Emergency Center in Port Arthur, said the mural in the soon-to-be-unveiled pediatric room is a way to make young patients feel comfortable versus the white “don’t touch anything” type of wall.

Previously, there were stickers on the wall with the trademarked Eli and Ellie. Now, with the mural there’s a whimsical aspect.

“This will be unveiled Monday evening,” Anderson said. “We will have all of this painted with a clear coat to protect it as much as possible because it is a high-traffic area. We get a lot of young families with children that would come in here versus a 15-year-old who may go into a regular room.”

The mural, she said, brings a different element and makes the children feel more comfortable.

The Nederland artist was chosen because officials wanted someone local for the project. Anderson called Simoneaux’s talent, “amazing.”

See artist next week

Simoneaux is gearing up for the upcoming Nederland Heritage Festival, where she will have a booth March 19 and March 20.

“I will display my artwork out there, paintings and drawings, and do face painting for the kids; and if there’s time, will try to do some live painting,” Simoneaux said.

This will not be her first time showcasing her work at a local event. The first was in 2018 during the Port Neches Artwalk, back when she was a junior in high school.

She had signed up for the festival in 2020, just as the first case of COVID was found in Jefferson County. The event was to be shut down but many vendors had already setup their works so the show went on, though it was canceled the following year.

Her journey to becoming a muralist wasn’t automatic, though she had been drawing and painting for years.

“I ended up graduating mid-COVID when I first started (murals). I was trying to figure out what to do with my life. I graduated in 2020 and was going to go to college,” Simoneaux said. “Then I started doing murals all around town and realized that’s what I wanted to do.”

So she registered her business, Val’s Designz, and continued to grow.

She scrapped her previous plan to go to college for entrepreneurship, as, by this time, she was already working for herself.

You can see her work on Facebook at Val’s Designz or visit her at the festival.