In Partnership WithBenjamin Moore

Before & After: A Historic Church-Turned-Educational Center Gets a Welcoming Paint Refresh

updated Sep 29, 2022
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Credit: Katy Cartland

We’re willing to bet you won’t find more smiling faces anywhere in Houston than BenCheri’ Educational Center. Since 2014, this community hub has offered local youth tutoring, mentoring, and after-school programming. From elementary school to high school, ABCs to financial literacy, BenCheri’ supports students with the knowledge they need to succeed. But the organization offers so much more than education.

Credit: Katy Cartland

BenCheri’ is a popular gathering place for the community, hosting events like carnivals, free book fairs, and summer youth programs. For Founder and CEO Ms. Willie E. Hubbard Brooks, BenCheri’ is a vibrant link to her family. Ms. Willie’s late mother ran an educational center, and her sister is a retired teacher. And then there’s the organization’s building: a historic former church founded by Ms. Willie’s great-grandparents in 1936!

Credit: Katy Cartland

We wanted to celebrate all the heart, soul, and effort BenCheri’ pours into its community — and the beautiful building where it all happens — with a new paint job to help it shine even brighter. As part of our Paint It Forward project, we partnered with Benjamin Moore, who is also committed to community. Benjamin Moore partners with local independent retailers, so you know you’re getting expert knowledge from professionals who care about their neighborhoods.

To honor the building’s historic look and feel, designer and visual artist Sara Weissler selected a fresh, subtle color palette that echoed its clean and simple aesthetic. The whole exterior got a much-needed makeover using Benjamin Moore Regal® Select Exterior Paint in the color Ocean Air 2123-50, which will provide this historical building with lasting protection. The trim and attached wood fencing were painted in the color Redstone 2009-10, a cheerful red with orange undertones sure to catch kids’ eyes.

“Because this is a historic structure, it is important to honor the building’s original look and feel,” Sara says. “We chose Ocean Air 2123-50 for the exterior, which is a hint of blue that doesn’t veer too much from white. Redstone 2009-10, a much brighter red than used before, is a perfect accent color. This mix of soft and saturated colors gives the building personality and adds a joyful pop. Fun and joy are important elements when choosing colors for a building that is a destination for families and children.”

Credit: Photo: Katy Cartland; Stylist: Kate Bohot

The color is balanced with a sleek and soft color, Chalk White 2126-70, which gives the front vestibule an inviting glow. “Painting the inset entrance bright white nods to the original color and adds dimension,” Sara says. Kendall Charcoal HC-166 is a dark, calm neutral gray that’s ideal for the front steps and ramp. Finally, the window bars got a fresh coat of Benjamin Moore Regal® Select Exterior Paint in the color Black 2132-10 to help them blend in seamlessly.

With its updated exterior, BenCheri’ is paying homage to its historic past while serving a new generation — and we can’t wait to see what they do next. “I feel blessed and exceptionally pleased at the outcome,” says Ms. Willie. “Now our students can come to a brighter, cleaner, and updated center. And due to the beautification of the center, it becomes more inviting to the community.”