By Lauren Friederman, Reporter
Whether you’re looking to take artsy pictures, or to simply enjoy art, Waco’s walls have become a high-priority attraction.
Waco resident Sarah Mclean said downtown was not a place people frequented when she was young. However, she said with the influx of new businesses, that truth has changed.
“It’s not considered a sketchy or dangerous area anymore,” Mclean said. “It’s just kind of a cool artsy, very young-professional driven type of place now.”
Mclean said she believes the murals play an important role in the changes taking place in downtown Waco because they inspire a sense of culture.
Whether you’re looking for culture or just a new Instagram picture, you can find it upon the walls of Waco. Check out the list to find your favorite.
1. Countdown to football and Wacotown mural:
Corner of Franklin and Fourth St.
This mural is located on the side of the Forty Thieves Hookah lounge. The wall is painted green, and the word “Wacotown” is scrawled across the wall in gold paint. Next to this is the countdown to the first kickoff at McLane Stadium. For 12 months, various artists contributed their own masterpieces to the countdown last summer. The photos of each month of the countdown can be found at wacotown.com/countdown.
2. Martin Luther King mural:
Near the Waco Suspension Bridge.
Each side of the pillar features a scene with Martin Luther King. The side facing downtown is painted with a scene from King’s “ I Have A Dream” speech. One side, features King in a jail cell. The other sides depict King speaking at a lectern, and his headstone marking the place where he was buried after his assassination. This piece was painted by Ira Watkins in 2005 to commemorate Martin Luther King.
3. St. Francis church murals:
315 Jefferson St.
If you park near the entrance to the church on Jefferson, you’ll see a small courtyard. Walk through the courtyard to the parking lot, and once you hit the parking lot, walk to the right and the murals are right on the side of the warehouses there.
Waco-native Mick Burson painted them in his unique style. At first, Burson set out to transform the side of the warehouse near his friend’s residence. He asked the church for permission, and they allowed him to paint there. After they saw his work, they asked him to paint more of their buildings and paid him for it.
4. Shepard’s Heart Pantry Mural:
1401 North 34th St.
This mural is located on the side of the Shepard’s Heart Food Pantry. Mick Burson’s mother worked at the food pantry and that’s how he got to paint there.
“I think it’s one of my favorite pieces in Waco,” Burson said. “I really like the time in my life that it happened, it was definitely the whole experience of painting the wall. I also think the gradients are really cool. It looks like its part of it rather than on top of it.”
5. Starry Night mural
10th St. and Columbus Ave.
This rendition of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” stands out against the plain brown brick building it was painted on. The piece doesn’t feature the name of an artist.
6. OG Customs Mural:
2115 Franklin Ave.
This Mick Burson piece is located on the side of OG Customs. Burson approached management and asked if he could paint the wall that drivers see as they drive down Franklin St. into downtown.
“It was a new look,” OG Customs employee Diego Gonzales said. “It pops out, it has a lot color.”
According to Gonzales, Burson did the project for free with his own paint in a span of three days.
7. Austin Street Mural
Austin St. between Eighth and Ninth Sts.
When asked about his painting, Burson generally responds by asking viewers what they think about it.
“It’s just energy. I was painting pretty abstract at the time so I just made it up,” Burson said. “With abstract painting, you just kind of make up your own visual language of marks and lines.”
Burson said he didn’t plan out what he was going to paint. He brought all the paint he had, bought some more, and set out to work.
“I would just make a shape and a color, then I would wait for a bit and figure out what would look good next to that, just like building relationships between colors and shapes,” Burson said.
Andy Anzollitto of Deuxtone contacted Burson and asked him to paint the wall.
“I was really excited that that thing would be able to be in Waco,” Burson said. “I think that the fact that they gave me that kind of freedom is really awesome and I think that it’s very forward-moving for Waco to do that sort of thing.”
Burson said he was thrilled about the finished piece.
“I knew at the time that there would be mixed opinions on it and I kind of like that too. I’m not saying that it does challenge people,” Burson said. “But it is a harder thing to accept than a really narrative painting with social realism in it.”
8. Dichotomy Mural
508 Austin Ave.
This mural is located at Dichotomy Coffee and Spirits. On the rooftop deck of Dichotomy, patrons can view the blue and white stripes that spell out “Waco” on the adjacent rooftop.
9. “You look nice today Wacotown” Mural
Corner of 6th St. and Washington Ave.
This mural has become iconic since it was painted in 2014 by UK graffiti artist Binty Bint. It’s bright and colorful. It has become a common backdrop for photos taken by Baylor students.