(Updated July 20, 2022)
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. A natural draw 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. A photo of that mural can be seen in the banner photo at the top of this blog post.
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
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 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.)
Next Up: World-Famous Mural Artist Coming to McKinney
McKinney has a huge mural project on the horizon, too ... one involving the historic grain silos at the old Flour Mill on the east side of Highway 5 between Louisiana and Virginia. The City of McKinney has contracted with world-famous Australian artist Guido van Helton to create a massive mural of people from the community, possibly actual people or compilations of those he interviews. (This has not yet been determined.)
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." Plans are to unveil these murals in late 2022.
July 2022 Update: Van Helton is in McKinney now, and his creation is underway as he works in 100-degree-plus heat each day he's on the project site. Watch our Facebook and Instagram accounts where we'll share progress. Below the large mural project is an image of him working on the underpainting from a lift.
For more about van Helten's work, click HERE.