DALLAS — If you could sum up the message this year has had on your life, would the word "grateful" come to mind?
In the middle of a global pandemic that is causing many people stress, a colorful mural recently popped up on McKinney Avenue in Dallas.
In the middle of West Village in Uptown, the mural simply says "GRATEFUL".
"I think that we're so consumed with everything going on that it's hard to sometimes see the positive,” said Ali Tareen, as he stopped to read messages on the mural.
The "GRATEFUL" wall is an interactive mural. It’s inviting people to grab a Sharpie and leave messages about gratitude and kindness.
“I said that I am really grateful for my friends and family," said Anan Tareen, as she left a message on the mural.
The wall was created by local muralist Mari Pohlman. It was commissioned by Uptown Dallas, Inc.
"About five months into the pandemic, I was having a really rough time, and just trying to reframe my mindset. I realized that I'd been focusing a lot on my worries, my fears, my uncertainty,” said Pohlman.
The artist calls the mural a way to help people refocus.
"I think that gratitude really is the number one realization to shift your thinking," said Pohlman.
Some messages are simple.
“I am grateful for my family and a roof over my head,” wrote J. Fuller.
All of the messages are meaningful.
“I’m grateful for new beginnings that all start from an end,” signed Z.R.
“I’m grateful for my friends and family who are always there for me,” F.L. added to the wall.
There’s even a message about a gentlemanly gesture during a first date.
"My message was fitting, because I was actually standing right here when a really nice guy picked me up on a date and gave me a bouquet of flowers," said a woman named Sloan.
The mural is already making a difference. It’s helping people to pause and think about what’s positive in their lives.
The interactive GRATEFUL mural can be found on McKinney Avenue in West Village, outside the J. Crew store.
The mural will travel across the Uptown area throughout the month of November. You can follow @UptownDallas on Instagram and other social media accounts for Uptown Dallas Inc. for updates.