Press Releases


Nims Artistically Enhanced As Part of 2021 Catalyst Team Activities

Superintendent, Principal, KCCI Unveil Series of Murals at Nims Middle School

Five murals conceptualized, painted by local artists Matt Shanaghan and Cosby Hayes

NOVEMBER 3, 2021 (TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) – Leon County School leaders and KCCI Community Catalysts today unveiled a series of murals at Nims Middle School, the latest project in the 2021 Knight Creative Communities Institute (KCCI) Community Catalyst team’s yearlong efforts to expand access to public art while showcasing local artists.

The five murals were painted by professional local muralist and welder Matt Shanaghan and artist Cosby Martin Hayes, and were made possible with Title 1 funding coordinated by the Leon County School District.

“We are thrilled to have yet another KCCI project in our district and proud of our partnership with their amazing organization,” said Superintendent Rocky Hanna. “These murals on the Nims campus will continue to add to the culture of success and pride that Principal Bolden is developing. Thank you to everyone involved in helping to bring the walls to life through art.”

Shanaghan developed multiple designs for the middle school’s community spaces, inspired by classic B-Boy characters from the break dancing graffiti culture. In the 1970’s “B-boying,” a sub-set of Hip Hop Culture, fostered an environment that centered on street dance performance, and became one of the most artistic forms of its time. Hayes worked with Shanghan to paint the Trojan icon, Nims’ school mascot.

“Nims students and staff find inspiration in the colors, the characters, and mascot painted so beautifully on the walls,” said Betsy Couch, KCCI Executive Director. “Public art like this reflects our culture and sets our town apart.”

KCCI’s 2021 Catalyst team coordinated with Leon County Title 1 Schools officials to secure funding for the murals, which adorn high-traffic areas of the school where students can get the most enjoyment in seeing them daily.

“R. Frank Nims Middle School is indebted to the continued contributions of KCCI and our school district leaders,” said Nims Middle principal Dr. Benny Bolden. “These murals ensure the campus is beautified, while creating a space that encourages academic growth and pride. Our entire community joins in this celebratory moment. As the proud principal, I will forever be grateful for this level of engagement that helps our efforts to change our community. Go Trojans!”

The murals are the latest in a series of projects for the 2021 KCCI Community Catalyst Team, which has spent most of the year expanding Art of the Box. First piloted by KCCI, Art of the Box allows artists the opportunity to exhibit art outdoors in the public realm by having their artwork printed onto vinyl, which wrap the traffic control boxes and transform two-dimensional artworks into outdoor three-dimensional murals for all to enjoy. Art of the Box helps to deter graffiti and showcase local artists.

As the Catalyst team brainstormed ways to bring Art of the Box into schools, the Nims mural idea emerged.

“As a southside advocate, I know firsthand the benefits of public art in spaces and communities where things are traditional grey and monotones. The Nims project aligns perfectly with the beautification priorities that communities like the Greater Bond Neighborhood had already set forth in their Neighborhood first plans,” said Talethia O. Edwards, 2021 KCCI Community Catalyst, community advocate and coalition builder. “We are thrilled to engage Title I schools like R. Frank Nims and bring to students, staff, and families these artistic pieces full of color and personality.”

For more information about the Nims murals and other 2021 Catalyst Class projects, visit

For more information about Nims Middle School, visit


About KCCI

Established in 2007, KCCI is a local organization committed to positive placemaking and community collaboration in Tallahassee. KCCI projects have generated nearly $1 billion in economic impact for Leon County. A new group of volunteer Community Catalysts is selected to plan and implement each annual project. KCCI is made possible by partners including: Knight Foundation Fund at the Community Foundation of North Florida, Archibald Foundation, Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, VyStar Credit Union, Taproot, FAMU School of Business and Industry, Florida State University College of Business, NAI Talcor, Structure Real Estate, Nolia & Bill Brandt, Lewis + Whitlock, Wood + Partners, Brown & Brown, BowStern Marketing, Serena and Jon Moyle, Cassidy and Company, Tharpe Construction, Flightline Group, Inc., Drs. Chaney, Couch, Callaway, Carter and Associates Family Dentistry, Charlie Johnson and Rowland Publishing.

The 2021 KCCI Community Catalyst team includes: Joey Arellano; Erika Branchcomb, Florida League of Cities; Cyrus Calhoun III, Truelive; Shannon Colavecchio, The Moore Agency; Nipa Eason, SalterMitchell PR; Talethia Edwards, Department of Health; Khari James, State Attorney’s Office, 2nd Judicial Circuit; Tyler Maldonado, Florida Department of Environmental Protection; Marie Moyle, U.S. Attorney’s Office; Ali Palmer, Kimley-Horn; and Daniel Taylor, Daniel Taylor Consulting, Inc.

Pictures below are the two artists, Matt and Cosby.