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In Oak Cliff Today, the Kids Were Putting a Fresh Coat of Paint on Bishop Arts

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For all the talk of Oak Cliff becoming "the city's new leading edge," there's still much work to be done. Jason and Andrea Roberts -- organizers of the Oak Cliff Art Crawl, as well as Bike Friendly Oak Cliff and Photopl.us -- look around even the Bishop Arts District and see much work to be done: razor wire in need of trimming, trash in need of clearing and graffiti in need of erasing.

And so, on this perfect Saturday, while St.Paddy's merrymakers paraded up and down Greenville Avenue -- and we'll have photos and more from that in the morning -- the couple and other like-minded Cliffdwellers took their protest and paintbrushes to the streets. Children from four Dallas Independent School District elementary schools sprawled beneath the empty Kavala Grill -- whose ancient-looking marquee says, "Changing Concept Soon" -- to decorate 24"-by-24" black wood panels. The kids' artwork will be tiled together into a huge mural and put up behind ABC Party on Davis Street in Oak Cliff.

The goal is to soften the environment, Roberts said -- to make the arts district more inviting. Rosemont Primary School art teacher Stacy Cianciulli said the goal was to "involve the children of the neighborhood, to give them ownership and abate graffiti." For the full court press, professional (non-kid) muralists are prepping another wall near 422 W. Davis

The scene was simple fun: One student, dripping paint all over her canvas, said, "I wouldn't exist without art"; another was coating his wood panel with the haste of someone on a deadline; and still another was dipping her whole hand in green. "I like painting because you can express yourself," a younger student said. "It lets me get dirty." True: There is paint all over the streets in Oak Cliff tonight.

Check out more photos from the Art Crawl in our slide show here.

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