Murals paint the city with history, culture

This mural is a part of Creative Waco's #WacoSafe chalk mural campaign, a project centered around creating art to boost community safety in response to the pandemic. The We Are CommuniTea mural is located at Waco Cha on 1001 Franklin Ave. Brittney Matthews | Photo Editor

By Saphiana Zamora | Reporter

Some murals in Waco hold heavy connections to historic events and pay homage to the diverse culture that the city is built on while others help bring local businesses closer to their community.

The Elm Avenue District holds a large amount of murals that mirror the culture of East Waco. From the Storytellers: Sharing the Legacy on the side of the East Waco Library to the Brotherwell Brewing mural, representations of diversity and culture are painted in hopes to bring positivity to the surrounding communities.

In 2011, the Storytellers: Sharing the Legacy mural was painted by hundreds of community volunteers that wanted to help bring lead artist Dave Loewenstein’s idea to life. Within the mural, parts of Waco’s history are highlighted such as the celebration of the Doris Miller memorial and a version of the map of East Waco from 1892.

“Artistic expression is vital to the fabric and heart of our community. Art can encompass history, heritage, hope for the future and so much more,” said Rachel E. Pate, the director of economic development for Cen-Tex African-American Chamber.

Pate plays an active role in Cen-Tex African-American Chamber, a nonprofit Waco-area chamber of commerce that’s building features a mural from Creative Waco’s #WacoSafe temporary mural campaign.

“Creative Waco, along with amazing, talented artists, have and are continually proving the need for more visual diversity that speaks to every part of our community, especially during tough times,” Pate said.

While the Storytellers mural and many others like it highlight the history, culture and diversity of Waco, other murals help local businesses leave their mark on the city.

The mural painted on the wall of Brotherwell Brewing was a community-led project by Creative Waco, Brotherwell Brewing and Keep Waco Loud called ARTPrenticeship that allowed local high schoolers to participate.

Eric Linares, Wacoan and co-founder of the Eastside Market, is heavily involved in the growing art scene of Waco. The Eastside Market is an event held once a month at the Brotherwell Brewery and invites local artists and businesses to sell their art and products. The market also has live mural painting at some of their events with well-known local artists such as Skcoobaveli Trevino.

“Murals serve lots of purposes to their communities,” Linares said. “They are visual statements of Waco’s history that highlight the importance of art and culture while adding vibrancy to the daily life of those who see them.”

Other local businesses such as the Waco Ale Company, Waco Cha, Magnolia Silos and countless shops downtown have their own personalized murals.

Wacoan Debbie Wright promotes local events, businesses and people in her podcast Know Waco. Wright is also working on a new project for her podcast that highlights murals across Waco that is going to be called Mural Mondays. The murals will be given a 150-200 word blog that dives into the artists and their inspiration.

“A lot of Waco’s past wasn’t inclusive with the art community,” Wright said. “But now with the new art scene that is growing within Waco, local artists are given a platform to express themselves.”

More information on Wright’s podcast can be found through her Instagram profile.

“In the past graffiti was seen as a form of vandalism in Waco that wasn’t really accepted in the community,” Linares said. “Now this new art scene helps promote local artists and businesses while helping Waco remember its own history.”