A panda, flamingo, donkey, and even a 13-foot-tall elephant are breathing new life into Downtown Wichita Falls. The Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture invites the public to celebrate the completion of “Better Together,” a mural located at the intersection of 7th Street and Indiana Avenue. A public dedication ceremony for the long-awaited project will be held on Wednesday, February 8, at 4:30 p.m.
Wichita Falls artists Steve Hilton and Jesse Baggett designed and installed the mosaic tile mural and led dozens of MSU Texas Fain Fine Arts students and local artists to create more than 2,000 handmade clay tiles. The four-story artwork depicts larger-than-life creatures working together to hang the moon.
“The mural is a testament to Wichita Falls’ long-standing tradition of coming together during difficult times, ” said Ann Arnold-Ogen, The Alliance Executive Director. “Our community has faced numerous challenges and has always emerged stronger, thanks to the resilience and determination of its residents. The tile mural serves as a powerful symbol of this unity, reminding all of us of the power of working together towards a common goal.”
The Alliance commissioned the iconic mural in February 2020. Later that year, the Wichita Falls 4B Sales Tax Corporation granted permission and funding for the mural to be installed in the city-owned parking garage.
“This is just one more instance of collaboration between the 4B Board and a local group working to enhance the culture of where we live,” 4B Board president Tony Fidelie said. “Teaming up with the Alliance on this project brightens up our downtown and showcases amazing local talent right here in our city.”
The National Endowment for the Arts and the Texas Commission on the Arts also supported the project.
“Despite facing several challenges and delays related to COVID-19, the artists never lost sight of their goal,” Arnold-Ogden said. “We thank them for their hard work, time, and dedication over the last three years. We also want to acknowledge the unwavering support of our partners at the Lamar D. Fine College of Fine Arts at MSU Texas and the City of Wichita Falls.”
The dedication ceremony will feature speeches from local officials, artists, and community members. The Alliance will also host a Family Day celebration in April for the community to attend.
Baggett and Hilton would also like to thank the following individuals for contributing to this project: Ferdine LeBlanc, Audra Lambert, Chrysa Jacobs, Fuago, Jayce Downing, Rogelio Nunez, Alissa Donaldson, and Francis Sims.