History of Jeremiah, The Innocent MuralIn 1983, singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston releases his most popular album, “Hi, How Are You.” The album cover featured Johnston’s own artwork of a frog named Jereimiah. Ten years later, Johnston was commissioned to paint a variation of his album artwork on the side of the building on the corner of Guadalupe and 21st Streets. The mural of Jereimiah, The Innocent, would be preserved by each business within the building space since the date of its creation and become an Austin icon, uniquely representing the culture and music scene of the city.
Johnston’s artwork has been featured at the Whitney Museum in New York City. By the time of his passing in September 2019, he had created over 300,000 pieces of artwork.
During his career, Johnston was open about his struggles and serced as an advocate for mental health. In 2017, the Johnston family and Co-founders Tom Gimbel and Courtney Blanton created the Hi, How Are You Project, a non-profit dedicated to using media and events to educate people worldwide about the importance of mental well-being and ending the stigma surrounding mental health. One year later, former Austin mayor Steve Adler proclaimed January 22nd (Johnston's birthday) as Hi, How Are You Day in Austin -- the day is a reminder to reach out and support those struggling with mental health issues.
Art PreservationAmerican Campus Communities (ACC) was founded right across the street at the Dobie Center in 1993, the same year Daniel Johnston painted the mural. Our vision back then was, and still is today, to create communities where students can thrive in college.
When ACC purchased the Goodall Wooten in 2018, we initiated a relationship with the Hi How Are You Project as we believed their mission to remove the stigma and have open dialogues about mental health was critical for college students. This has become a guiding tenet for ACC’s residence life program. We provide our team members with peer-to-peer training programs on supporting mental wellness for our residents, and we share information and host events related to mental wellness and self-care. Asking a student, “Hi, how are you?” is a simple step to start a conversation about their well-being, provides an opportunity for connection, and lets them know someone cares.
ACC is committed to preserving the beloved mural not only because it is an important part of Austin history but also because it is a reminder of the importance of creating open dialogues around mental health. We are doing so in partnership with the Hi How Are You Project and the Austin Creative Alliance, a non-profit that advances, connects, and advocates for arts, culture, and creativity in Austin.
The demolition of the existing Goodall Wooten building across from UT’s campus is expected to take place in 2023s. During the demolition, the mural will be covered and secured for protection. At this time, there are no definitive redevelopment plans ; but when demolition is complete the mural will be uncovered for all to enjoy.
LinksDaily Texan, American Campus to preserve 'Hi, How Are You" mural during demolition
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