Artist inspired by Hailey Brooks paints memorial mural: 'Bubbly and bright little girl'

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Sunday, November 12, 2023
Artist inspired by Hailey Brooks paints memorial mural
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A Durham-based artist painted a memorial mural in honor of 11-year-old Hailey Brooks on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Isabella Dearr is a Durham-based artist who painted a memorial mural to Hailey Brooks on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh. She spoke with ABC11 about her process and the image that's now on the pavement:

"(A) pair of ballet shoes, some sunflowers. I'm going to incorporate a butterfly and then some daisies, as well," Dearr said. "It was inspired by Miss Hailey Brooks. She was a dancer. And a very bubbly and bright little girl."

Dearr said she was not at the parade the day 11-year-old Hailey Brooks was hit by an out-of-control parade truck and killed.

"I was in Durham at the time...I heard about it a couple of days later, but I was not aware when it happened," she said. "I was asked to do this, and I'm very grateful to be able to honor Hailey and her family in this way."

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Dearr said she grew up dancing, and it was something that also inspired her.

"I'm self-taught. I took art classes in elementary school and middle school, but, yeah, mainly self-taught. A lot of artists in my family," she said. "I hope that it brings a smile to her family and loved ones and everyone who was blessed to know her."

"This should last for a couple of years. And it's outdoor paint. It's exterior paint. So it should hold up pretty well, and it's not slick. So when it rains, there's not a risk of slipping or anything."