The Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture will showcase a new community mural inspired by the history of music and entertainment once so prominent on the east side of the city. The location of the mural and unveiling on Friday, April 5th at 11:00 AM, is the Felix Lister Elks Lodge #1217 at 811 Homes Avenue in Wichita Falls.
The mural reveal is part of a greater initiative by The Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture, to integrate public art into community spaces. The 12’x36’ mural, “I Love You,” was created and installed by Master Artist Ralph Stearns, recognized nationally for his realistic and stunning images created seemingly overnight. Mr. Stearns’ work is the first of four murals to be designed and installed in the Eastside neighborhood, following numerous conversations with residents. Their input is guiding the development of the Eastside Mural Project.
“We pride ourselves in creating a diverse array of programming to serve our community,” says Paul Clark, President of the Board of the Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture. “It has been a rewarding process for us to work with Ralph and community leaders to develop their vision for the four public art pieces that the entire community can enjoy.”
“This project is intentionally designed to spark city-wide conversations about the role arts play as a catalyst for community development,” says Margie Reese, Executive Director of the Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture. “I’m are so grateful for members of the Lodge, led by Mr. Gene Buchanan for their willingness to work with Ralph through the installation process.” The Felix Lister Elks Lodge on Homes Street 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 l950’s and ’60s.
The mural reveal event will include comments by the artist and community members associated with the Eastside Mural Project; a reveal of additional mural sites; and, of course, the unveiling of the mural, “I Love You.” The Eastside Mural Project is funded in part by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts.
Additionally, the Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture is hosting two Networking Sessions for area muralists on April 5 and 6th, to bring artists together to encourage collaboration between the community and local artists.