Port Arthur radio station owner hopes to inspire youth through murals done by local artist

Published 12:48 am Tuesday, January 31, 2023

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Stephen Mosely has devoted nearly 20 years to public radio in Port Arthur. And soon he will be spreading his love for the craft visually as well as audibly.

Mosely, founder of KSAP 96.9 The Breeze, commissioned Groves artist Juan Esparza for “Expressions of Hope.”

“It’s something to give our youngsters that we worked with in the past and future an opportunity to see that — if they work hard, produce and be consistent in their craft — they may end up being someone recognized in the future,” he said.

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Using an idea created two months ago, Mosely will be adding paintings to the outside of the building that houses The Breeze.

Originally, he wanted paint applied to the walls. However, he said, they’re porous and not suitable to be painted.

So Esparza has begun painting on four-by-eight canvases that will be adhered to the exterior of the building.

“We spent a lot of money preparing the building,” Mosely said, adding they repaired the roof and repainted the walls.

Mosely first saw Esparza’s work when the Mid County artist was painting a mural on the side of Mission’s Attic.

Esparza has already completed one of the eight paintings, which will largely be based on album covers or photos selected by family members representing the artists.

“Each one of those individuals has a story,” Mosely said.

They have secured rights to display the images and are looking for sponsors for each. One has been obtained.

The paintings will be of:

  • C.J. Chenier, son of King of Zydeco Clifton Chenier. According to the Museum of the Gulf Coast, the younger Chenier grew up in Port Arthur, where he played in Top 40 bands as a teenager. He first played with his father on his 21st birthday, and upon Clifton Chenier’s death in 1987, C.J. Chenier began leading the Red Hot Louisiana Band as his father had.
  • Zachary Breaux was a jazz musician who attended Lincoln High School before touring worldwide. Breaux died in 1997 while vacationing in Florida when he attempted to save a drowning woman.
  • 1st Lt. Adam E. Simpson Jr. was the first man from Port Arthur to die in the Vietnam War. In 2021, a plaque honoring him was unveiled at The Pavilion. Simpson was a drum major in high school. His painting will show him in his uniform.
  • Paul Orta, of Port Arthur, was a harmonica player and “global blues legend,” according to his 2019 obituary.
  • Beaumont native Barbara Lynn co-wrote her first song, “You’ll lose a good thing,” which reached no. 1. According to information from the Museum, she toured with musical legends Gladys Knight, James Brown and Marvin Gaye.
  • The Sugar Shack is an iconic painting by a North Carolina artist.
  • Port Arthur native Janis Joplin was “probably the most powerful singer to emerge from the white rock movement,” as she was called by Time Magazine.
  • The Breeze Players is a logo used by the radio station of silhouetted musicians.

Mosely chose artists from Port Arthur or those played often on The Breeze.

“(Orta) would be in France or Germany or somewhere,” he said. “He’d catch a train and go to a nightclub, and we’d connect with him and play his live performance on radio here in the United States.”

To sponsor a painting, call 409-982-9029.

The Breeze is owned by the Truth and Education Corporation, which is a 501(c)3.