Downtown Plano Mural Project Announced

Although west Plano’s booming business growth is the talk of the town these days, most Planoites would agree the heart of the city is in historic downtown, where Plano’s first commercial district sprang up in the mid 1800s. Cotton farms, Shepard’s mule barn, Forman’s post office, the Spanish School – although long gone, places like these laid the foundation for what Plano would become.

The hope is that the treasures of Plano’s past will be honored for generations to come. This morning, the Historic Downtown Plano Association (HDPA) and Plano Art Association (PAA) announced the downtown Plano mural project, which will not only reinforce downtown Plano’s position as an arts district but also preserve the city’s heritage and culture.

Attendees at Plano Artfest 2016 participate in the chalk art event // photo Jennifer Shertzer

With the focus that downtown Plano has put on the arts these past few years and the recent Texas Commission for the Arts designation as a cultural district, an investment in large-scale public art is the next natural step. The City of Plano’s 15th Street Portal Project is already in the works, which will see an artist install freestanding artworks along 15th Street between Central Expressway and G Avenue sometime this summer.

The Plano mural project is a joint effort between HDPA and PAA, made possible with a grant from the city’s Heritage Commission. Three murals will be created: one relief mural at the crosswalk between Angela’s at the Crosswalk and La Foofaraw, one painted mural on the west exterior side of Vickery Park facing the DART tracks and one painted mural at a location still to be determined.

Locations for two of the downtown Plano murals; the third is TBD

A call to artists begins today on the Plano Mural website. HDPA and PAA hope to land one Texas artist and one international artist to create the murals. The call to artists will be open through February. In March the final artists will be chosen, and installation is expected to begin in April, hopefully during the week of Plano Artfest.

Members of the mural advisory council include (left to right) Plano City Council Member David Downs, Heritage Farmstead Museum Executive Director M’Lou Hyttinen, HDPA Executive Director Alex Hargis, Plano Art Association Vice President Mike Korman, ArtCentre of Plano Executive Director Suzy Jones, Plano Art Association President Soheyla Rashidyan, Heritage Preservation Officer Bhavesh Mittal, Aurora Co-Founder Joshua King, Legacy Portrait Painters Founder Gene Dillard, Plano City Council Member Angela Miner // photo Jennifer Shertzer

Alex Hargis, executive director for HDPA, announced that an advisory council “made up of some the best thinkers, artists and historians in all of Plano” will decide the final artists and ensure historical accuracy for the murals. The council includes representatives from HDPA, PAA, ArtCentre of Plano, the Heritage Commission, Plano Library System, Heritage Farmstead Museum and Plano City Council.

Joshua King, a Dallas-based artist and co-founder of the annual Dallas art event Aurora, also joins the mural advisory council with experience producing art events. “Projects like this are really important not only for heritage of a city and a community but to highlight the future of a culture of a city,” said Joshua. He continued, “When a city is willing to put the financial security behind a project, that’s when the arts can grow. So this should be something the community and the city of Plano should be very proud of.”

A temporary grafitti mural created during Plano Artfest 2016 by @grimelab @edwithaner @noir_oner // photo Jennifer Shertzer

And downtown Plano wants your help in this project. Not only will the artists pull inspiration from existing historic photos archived by the Plano Genealogy Center, but they will also use your family photos to create their masterpiece. So dig in your great-grandma’s hope chest or your grandpappy’s old albums to see how your photos can contribute to this celebration of Plano’s past.

“We want this mural project to be one for every single person in Plano. We want every single person to be able to put their hands on this project and, when they look at these pieces twenty years from now, say ‘I had a part in that,’” said Alex.

Submit your old photos of Plano’s past for the Plano mural project // photo of the Olney Davis girls courtesy of the Plano Genealogy Center in Haggard Library

Photos can be submitted three ways:

  1. At the Plano Mural website
  2. On Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, use #planomural to submit your photo
  3. Bring photos to Haggard Library Genealogy Center at 2501 Coit Rd. on Tuesdays and Thursdays in January and February from 10am-2pm. Volunteers will help residents scan their photos.
Plano Mural Website >
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  1. says: Rolando Diaz

    I happen to be an Internationally Acclaimed Cuban/American artist….please Google:
    Rolando Diaz/Artist. I am interested for the sake of beautification of Plano. I have been fortunate to have done murals in Texas, Miami, Lima Peru, Haiti, Africa and other places…….
    My question is……do we send a professional packet in for review? What is the payment for the mural and size of the wall? Will the wall be already primed and ready before the artist starts, will a plaque be placed by the mural after completion, stating artist, name of work etc?

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