WICHITA FALLS – An unassuming building in Weeks Park will soon be transformed by a colorful mural inspired by native plants and animals.
The City of Wichita Falls Public Works Department has partnered with the Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture (The Alliance) to commission local artist Aaron Soto to design and paint a four-sided mural on Lift Station #25, located on Midwestern Parkway near the intersection of Irving Place.
“Many of the projects that the City of Wichita Falls Utilities Divisions have undertaken for the last 20 years have had an aesthetic component to their design,” said Daniel Nix, the Utilities Operations Manager for the City of Wichita Falls. “This mural project will continue that policy and add vibrancy to a piece of utility infrastructure that has otherwise been dull brown for the last several decades. This mural project will leverage the investment in infrastructure maintenance to provide additional artistic benefits to the community that it serves.”
A selection committee made up of neighbors and community leaders evaluated more than a dozen proposals from artists for the project. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from MSU Texas, Soto is an experienced portrait artist and muralist. Much of her work involves portraiture. Soto will be assisted by Brandon Shanks.
A selection panel, led by The Alliance, reviewed and scored artist qualifications. Panelists included Wichita Falls residents Anna Schaffner, Carma Fisher, as well as Jennica Lambert, Exhibits Curator of River Bend Nature Center, Ferdine LeBlanc, Art in Public Places Program Manager of The Alliance, and Mr. Nix.
“The Alliance is honored to partner with the City to showcase talented local artists who continue to build our reputation as a creative, innovative community,” Ann Arnold-Ogden, Alliance Executive Director, said. “This mural will create new experiences for residents and visitors and become a landmark for the neighborhood.”
Soto said most of her work involves portraits and animals, so the Lift Station mural will present a historical and nature theme.
“Growing up just outside of Holliday gave me an appreciation for native plants and animals,” Soto said. “I used to love roaming the pastures around my house looking for them. This mural will evoke that youthful fascination and connect people with the wildlife that surrounds us.”
The mural is expected to be dedicated in December. This is the second public mural to be installed along the Circle Trail System. The first mural was installed in 2018 on the Wichita Spillway located within Lake Wichita Park.