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Mural Celebrating a Local Legend to be Unveiled at Rising Stars & Legends of Texas


2-Annette Gordon-Reed C Tony Rinaldo_300dpi

Mural Celebrating a Local Legend to be Unveiled at Rising Stars & Legends of Texas

Local artist Theresa Thornhill prepares mural honoring Conroe native, Pulitzer Prize-winner Annette Gordon-Reed


CONROE, Texas – April 15, 2017 –  A new mural will be unveiled on one of downtown Conroe’s building exteriors as part of Rising Stars & Legends of Texas, a celebration of arts and culture in the Lone Star State, scheduled for April 21 and 22 in downtown Conroe.


During the festive event, the Greater Conroe Arts Alliance will present art and artists from Conroe and around Texas for a fete of visual, performing, literary and cultural arts.

Local artist Theresa Thornhill is creating the mural of Annette Gordon-Reed, a Conroe native who became a Pulitzer Prize winner, for the occasion.

The piece will be installed on the Conroe Legends Mural Wall, located on the south side of 202 N. Main St., which features individuals from the area who have garnered statewide, national or international recognition for their professional efforts.

Serving as the Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School, Gordon-Reed also is a professor of history in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. Before this post, she was the Harold Vyvyan Harmsworth Visiting Professor of American History at The Queen’s College, Oxford.

Gordon-Reed won the Pulitzer Prize in History in 2009 for “The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family.” She also is the author of “Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy,” “Andrew Johnson” and most recently “Most Blessedof the Patriarchs: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire  of the Imagination.”

Her honors include a fellowship from the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, a Guggenheim Fellowship in the humanities, a MacArthur Fellowship, the National Humanities Medal, the National Book Award and the Woman of Power and Influence Award from the National Organization for Women in New York City. She also was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011 and is a member of the Academy’s Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Thornhill has been immersed in research about Gordon-Reed in preparation of creating the mural.

“She’s a Pulitzer Prize winner and a Conroe High School graduate,” Thornhill said. “She’s a big deal.”

Thornhill has already completed three murals in Conroe – honoring Mary McCoy, Roy Harris and Colin Edwards II.

For each project, the digital artist spends time reading about the person online, interviewing relatives and gathering all the information she can.

“I incorporate elements of what I learn about the person into the mural,” Thornhill said. “There are usually images that stand out to me, things that jump out that I think would make a good story – and I put that into the piece. The impression I get will tell me what direction to go.”

She is still working on the concept for the mural honoring Gordon-Reed. “I have some ideas floating around, and I kind of know what I’m going to do,” she said. “But once I start playing, it could all completely change.”

Thornhill is originally from Beaumont and moved to the Spring area in 1997. She immediately signed up for the Conroe Art League – and has been active with the group ever since.

“I was an outsider, and they were so nice to me,” she said.

Thanks to her experience with the arts community, Thornhill has a special spot in her heart for the city of Conroe.

“It’s great to have this small-town feel so close to Houston,” she said. “And there’s a great group of people here – artists and residents all committed to growing downtown.”

And now she has made her own mark on the downtown landscape with her art honoring hometown heroes.

For more information about Theresa Thornhill, visit

Rising Stars & Legends of Texas kicks off at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 21, at Lone Star Monument and Historical Flag Park with the raising of the 13 flags that have flown over Texas, musical entertainment and special guests. The festivities move to downtown Conroe until 10 p.m. and continue on Saturday, April 22, from noon – 10 p.m. when the streets will be filled with fun, food, entertainment for the whole family and lots of fabulous art. There is no entrance fee to Rising Stars & Legends of Texas.

Rising Stars & Legends of Texas is presented by the Greater Conroe Arts Alliance, comprising 13 arts and culture organizations and encompassing the visual, performing, literary and cultural arts.

Sponsors include First Financial Bank, Impact Printing, James Avery, Mack Barnhill State Farm, Woodforest National Bank, Keating Honda-Nissan, Soules Insurance, Hailey-Sadler Properties, Conroe Convention & Visitors Bureau, Lone Star Community Radio, Hello Beautiful Boutique, Alice and John Eckstrum, Lone Star College-Montgomery, The Courier, Mike and Patsy McLemore, and the City of Conroe.

For more information about Rising Stars & Legends of Texas, visit




Attached photo courtesy of the Greater Conroe Arts Alliance.





A mural honoring Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Annette Gordon-Reed, Conroe native and the Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School, will take its place on the Conroe Legends Mural Wall during the upcoming Rising Stars & Legends of Texas event.



Photo by Tony Rinaldo.