(Updated April 12, 2023)
One thing everyone does when they visit a destination is to snap photos to both take home memories and share the fun they had with friends and family. Natural draws for photo backdrops are murals, and McKinney's mural collection is growing by leaps and bounds, with more planned in the near future. McKinney's historic district is where the vast majority of the murals, most of which are located outdoors, can be found. Below are just a few of these wonderful pieces of art found in McKinney.
Historic "Ghost" Wall
The oldest existing "mural" isn't really a mural at all but rather a painted wall serving as an advertisement for the hardware store that called it home more than 100 years ago. The building at 214 E. Louisiana is now home to The Pantry Restaurant and Cocktail Creamery. Despite not being "artsy" in nature, this wall is popular with shutterbugs capturing the heritage of this historic downtown.
First City-Funded Mural - Cadillac Pizza
The first city-funded mural can be found on the south side of the building where patrons dine at Cadillac Pizza Pub (112 S. Kentucky). In 2016, artist Misty Oliver-Foster created the 39-foot wide painting that depicts the city's heritage in the cotton industry as well as wildflowers representing Texas and the culture found in McKinney's dining and arts movements.
Funky Mural at Mellow Mushroom
Three years before the Cadillac Pizza mural came to life, the very popular Mellow Mushroom mural (at right) appeared on the west outside wall of the funky and colorful pizza restaurant inside at 218 E. Louisiana. Bringing a groovy, hippie vibe to the historic downtown in 2013, this artwork has long been a favorite for families, food tour groups, and more to snap photos with it as a backdrop.
Andrea Holmes' Multiple Murals
McKinney artist Andrea Holmes has become the go-to muralist in Downtown McKinney, in addition to murals she has done throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. In early April 2023, she completed an 80-foot mural on Wood Street just south of Louisiana, an impressive work of art dedicated to the late Hunter Haney, an artist who died at 22. (Read about it HERE and see the banner photo at the top of this blog post for a nice view of it.)
Andrea had no sooner finished the beautiful Wood Street mural than she moved her supplies over to our Visit McKinney offices to work on a special mural for our under-renovation Visitor Experience Center. See it at right, or better yet, stop by 200 W. Virginia and see it in person! We couldn't believe she finished it in one evening and the next day. We love the message of this new piece of artwork which stresses the importance of tourism, reminding all who see it that every resident and business owner first came to McKinney as a visitor. (We have Maura Gast, Executive Director at the Irving Convention & Visitors Bureau, to thank for her quote which is well-known among tourism professionals!)
During the summer of 2020, local artist Andrea Holmes painted a 100-foot long mural on the building Fair & Square Imports calls home, located at the corner of Louisiana and Johnson Streets (219 E. Louisiana). This mural honors Texas nature - cactus, armadillos, wildflowers, a snake, birds, and of course, the sun. It has become quite popular with both amateur and professional photographers.
Already a long-time and popular artist in North Texas for her beautiful bird series, among other subjects, Andrea now has several murals to her credit in McKinney (including the bright pink mural on the north wall of Guava Tree Cantina on East Louisiana shown at right) and other areas of North Texas, both on the outside of buildings and inside businesses as well. You can see her full collection of McKinney murals HERE.
A beautiful green mural featuring both paint and mosaic tiles was installed in early 2019 on the south outside wall of the Chestnut Commons parking garage at E. Virginia and N. Chestnut streets in downtown McKinney. This mural, called "McKinney Blooms," was created by Houston artist Reginald Adams as a private-public partnership between the City of McKinney and developer The Sanchez Group. The three-story-high mural is positioned between Foxiis Sports Bar to the west and Arcade 92 to the east.
'Better Together' at Dempsey's Marketplace
Just down the street from the three murals along East Louisiana Street mentioned above is not as well-known a mural, painted during the height of the 2020 election season. It features a donkey and elephant clinking beer bottles with the sentiment "Better together" encircling the dapperly-dressed animals' hands.
W.O.W. Building Bicycle Mural
At the writing of this blog post, the most recent mural unveiled in McKinney is on the W.O.W. Building on South Tennessee, gracing the north wall of the building where Cadence Cyclery and the cycle store's coffee shop can be found. In the brief time since this mural was officially finished - just over a month- this bicycle-themed mural has begun popping up all over social media. (You'll see it in the gallery of user-generated content below.)
World-Famous Mural Artist Guido van Helten's Creation
McKinney's huge mural project involving the historic grain silos at the old Flour Mill on the east side of Highway 5 between Louisiana and Virginia was completed in late summer 2022.
According to an article in Community Impact in July 2021, "The primary funding source will be grants and contributions, with any gap funding coming from the city’s hotel occupancy tax, not to exceed $380,000. The mural on the silos would serve as a visual bridge between downtown’s current attractions and the upcoming revitalization projects on the east side of Hwy. 5," officials said, "Since the silos are visible from Virginia Street."
The artist spent five months or so in McKinney, taking photos at various city events and meeting people from the community. He developed artwork for the silos that he felt reflected the diversity of the McKinney community. To see more photos of the finished silo and to learn more about the artist and the project, click HERE.
At right are images of the murals before and after van Helten added his special touch to them.
For more about van Helten's work around the world, click HERE.
MillHouse Mural Fest at The Cotton Mill
The artists at MillHouse McKinney hosted a Mural Fest one weekend in August 2022 as van Helten was completing the silo murals. Multiple artists spent a scorching two days in the sun adding beautiful color to walls in the south area of The Cotton Mill property.
For access to see them all now, enter MillHouse on the Elm Street side of the property and ask about seeing them. A few are also visible from Anderson Drive on the south side.