Meighgan Gladden has taken her talent as an artist to a place where it can have an impact on middle-school students. Since May 2007, Gladden has been creating visually stimulating murals on the walls of Ross Sterling Middle School. Gladden is a 2006 graduate of Kingwood High School and was recently accepted to the University of Houston School of Art. She is currently studying at Lone Star College-Kingwood and is looking forward to a bright future with plans to transfer to the University of Houston with a double major in art and business in the fall. “I would like to incorporate art into my business in the future,” Gladden said. “But first I want to work as an accountant or CPA so that later I am financially able to work on my art full time.” At RSMS, her murals can be found in the main foyer, where she painted the Bearcat school spirit murals. Around the library walls is where she has magically reproduced book covers which are so realistic it’s hard to distinguish them from original posters at a glance – the eye is fooled and her work is impressive. She painted the first book cover of “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson near the library office and has since painted nearly a dozen more around the cinder block library walls. “Meighgan’s artwork is memorable and it does something others don’t – it inspires kids to read,” said Kristen Gladden, RSMS librarian and Meighgan’s mother. “Since I am a librarian, I will do whatever it takes to get the kids into the library. I want it to be as visually stimulating, without overkill, as possible. Having murals by an artist like Meighgan certainly accomplishes that.” The senior Gladden librarian said when fifth-graders visited the campus this spring, some paused in front of the book cover murals, stared in amazement and asked questions about their origin. RSMS Principal Penne Liefer is very pleased with the results of Gladden’s artwork and plans to commission her to paint several inspirational murals around the campus as well. “I would rather have Meighgan paint the posters on the walls than buy the posters and pay to have them framed,” said Liefer. Even though she had artistic abilities, Gladden never really showed an interest in art prior to high school and credits her art teacher, Mrs. Swift, formerly Ms. Neidinger, who saw her talent and potential and became her inspiration and mentor. In 2007 Gladden worked at Marshall Middle School, a Fine Arts Magnet School in Houston ISD, as an art teacher in their after-school program, Prepared for Life. There she met two teachers who mentored and showed her how important art is, not only focusing on one’s own life perspective but also molding minds. Chandel Handcock encouraged Gladden to grow her painting skills, as did Gary Roth, who taught Gladden one of her most important lessons: to paint the big picture, not just the details, and to use paint as an eraser instead of a pencil. Gladden has taken all of these lessons to become a successful artist. Her talents include painting murals for individuals such as baby nurseries or a crest for a volunteer fire department and also replicating famous paintings on canvas for clients. She will paint murals of any size on any surface – originals or replicas. Interestingly, she uses her index fingerprint as a signature on her work. For information about Meighgan or Gladden, call 832-233-9662, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit myspace.com/meighgangladden to view her art. Photos (from top to bottom): Meighgan Gladden at work on one of many inspiring book-cover murals she has created at Ross Sterling Middle School. Meighgan Gladden painted this book cover of “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick on the cinder block wall in the library at Ross Sterling Middle School. Another example of Meighgan Gladden’s artistry at Ross Sterling Middle School – the book cover for “Eclipse” by Stephenie Meyer. Photos by Trilla Cook

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