Eastside Mural Project
The Eastside Mural Project is an initiative by the Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture to integrate public art into community spaces. The project is intentionally designed to spark city-wide conversations about the roles arts play as a catalyst for community development.
The first mural, “I Love You,” was created and installed by Master Artist Ralph Stearns at the Felix Lister Elks Lodge on Homes Street. Stearns is recognized nationally for his realistic and stunning images created seemingly overnight. “I Love You” is the first of four murals that will be designed and installed in the east side neighborhood following numerous conversations with area residents whose input is guiding the development of the Eastside Mural Project.
The Felix Lister Elks Lodge has been an important community service organization and social gathering place for area residents. The building stands as a reminder of an active and thriving six-block section of Flood Street, once known as “the eastern downtown” in the 1950s and ’60s.
The second mural, “Imaginative Minds,” was designed by MSU graduate Selena Mize with support from a team of local muralists. The brilliantly colored artwork has a number of distinguishing characteristics, not the least of which is that the art work covers the entire building. All of the original architectural elements of the original Fly’s Gas Station have been incorporated into the mural, located at 802 Harding Street.
Artist Selena Mize says, “The mural creates a display of rendered portraits of children surrounded by simplistic two-dimensional cartoon backgrounds that could easily resemble a coloring book or generic children’s drawings. The use of paper origami placed throughout these four large canvases reminds me of how I created small, three-dimensional crafts as a young girl. The mural is meant to be playful, fun, and vibrant. I chose children as subject matter because I wanted them to be inspired by what they saw going to school, walking home, or riding their bikes around town with their friends. I wanted to create a sense of awe and wonder, and spark imagination within them.”
The canvas for ‘Jacobie’s Wall,’ is a retaining wall at the Wichita Falls Housing Authority community on Harding Street and Holland Avenue. It was designed by Jacobie Genus and installed as a collaborative effort with a team of local artists. ‘Jacobie’s Wall’ will be revealed on Thursday, June 27th at 11:30 AM. Guests are asked to park along Marconi Street or Holland Avenue and walk over to the grassy area in front of the mural, the perfect vantage point for viewing the installation. Materials and paint supplies for this project were provided by the Wichita Falls Housing Authority.
Genus says, “I want this mural to bring positive energy to the community. The words on the mural, peace, love, unity, and respect, represent what I want everyone, especially young people, to remember as they see this artwork. When they go to school and come home – I want them to think about those words every day.”
The final mural, ‘In Motion,’ was conceived and designed by Brea’n Thompson. It will be unveiled on Tuesday, July 2nd at 11:30 AM at Beacon Lighthouse for the Blind located at 300 7th Street.
Thompson says, “This project is incredibly important to me. I’ve never done a mural that brought light to an issue in quite this way. Everyone at Beacon Lighthouse has been so supportive of me and the team of artists who helped create this artwork, this mural is about them and for them. I wanted to create a work that was accessible to our neighbors with all levels of vision and no vision. Everyone deserves to experience beauty.”
The Eastside Mural project has been funded in part by the Libra Foundation (John Hirschi), The Texas Commission on the Arts, with additional support from The Felix Lister Elks Lodge, David Brock, the Wichita Falls Housing Authority, and Beacon Lighthouse for the Blind.