Updated: Mural at Art Center to reflect diversity
Update, April 19: This project is not proceeding at this time due to an access issue with the property owner of the alleyway below the mural.
A mural is planned at the Georgetown Art Center, 816 S. Main St., as part of the larger vision of the Downtown Georgetown Cultural District. The Georgetown Public Art Program received a Cultural District grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts for the mural, which will feature the theme of diversity. Four artists with diverse backgrounds and styles, who have already contributed significantly to the collection of local public art murals, will team up on this diversity-themed, street art-style project: Sarah Blankenship (Greetings from Georgetown, TX mural), Norma Clark and Devon Clarkson (Preserving History mural project), and J. Muzacz (El Arbol “The Tree” and Best Friends K9 Heroes murals, which he created in collaboration with veteran artist Jay Rivera).
The mural will be installed in April on the two-story west exterior wall of the Georgetown Art Center, which is adjacent to the entrance of the District Six restaurant (rendering at right). A public painting event is planned in collaboration with the constituents of Art from the Streets and other community members. The colors selected for the mural relate to District Six, as well as the accent colors of the historic Mesker Brothers storefronts of the Downtown Georgetown Cultural District. There will be a mural dedication event in July coinciding with the opening reception of the Georgetown Art Center’s Street Art exhibit.
The mural seeks to raise awareness of the diversity of culture, programming, artists, and arts audiences in Georgetown and honors the community outreach, engagement and education efforts by the Georgetown Arts and Culture Program and the Georgetown Art Center, which is managed by nonprofit group Georgetown Art Works. Each artist’s design represents their unique connection to Georgetown and the inspiration behind it.
Muralist J. Muzacz chose to represent hope, optimism, diversity, and the next generation of youth chasing their dreams by painting a stylized portrait of local Georgetown resident and emerging young artist Kayla Moore, whose utility box painting, “Cloudy Day” can be seen at Eighth Street and Austin Avenue on the Square.
“I love that art students are able to express themselves and share their emotions, struggles, and dreams with the community in such an inspiring way,”Muzacz said. Muzacz is a member of the Texas Commission on the Arts Texas Touring Roster, and the Georgetown Arts and Culture Program received additional grant funding from the TCA to include him as an artist for this project.
Abstract artist Norma Clark chose to represent two separate images that are inspirational and personal to her. One image is the sunflower that represents Brookwood in Georgetown, BiG, a vocational community for adults with special needs. Brookwood believes the citizens of “BiG” are unique like the sunflower seed that can lay dormant for years, but under the right conditions, can grow and bloom.
As the mother of an adult child with special needs, Clark said, “I love incorporating this into my work to inspire others to embrace and welcome unique art and accept unique individuals.”
The second image represented is Southwestern University’s emblem since generations of Clark’s family have a history with the institution.
“This was the place that formed my foundation as an artist, an area that otherwise I would have never explored professionally,” Clark said.
Muralist Sarah Blankenship has a background in historic preservation having worked at the Texas Historical Commission and served on historic preservation boards in Georgetown. Blankenship chose to represent an appreciation of art in public spaces.
“I love to see art in our everyday lives, from restaurants, to workplaces, to our downtowns, even in nature,” she said. “I want it to surround us in unique ways, to be available to a diverse audience, rather than it be thought of for museums or galleries.”
The image of the Corinthian column—including a capital featuring leaves and flowers—was specifically chosen because the leaves give a connection to nature, and Georgetown’s parks have been a continual source of spiritual energy for Blankenship. This type of column can be seen on the Williamson Museum on Austin Avenue.
Blankenship’s other images include enlarged and abstracted elements from the Mesker pressed-metal cornices and window caps of the historic downtown buildings. Designs are from the Lockett, Dimmitt, Mileham, and Williamson County Sun buildings and the Georgetown Art Center. The three radiating circles at the bottom right of the mural “represent my family and the three energies we all have to balance in life and as artists from any background: Spiritual, intellectual and warrior,” she said.
Portrait artist Devon Clarkson chose to represent the impact of art education and the importance of engaging children in the process. Clarkson’s own children became the inspiration for the portraits in his section and are shown participating in the creation of the mural.
“My kids were the single most important reason I took a shot at art,” he said.
The second image chosen by Clarkson is an abstracted representation of the bridges in the community, a symbol that is uniquely Georgetown and reminiscent the area’s identification as the “Land of Good Water,” as the original settlements in the area were located where clear, natural spring waters were easily accessible.
For updates on the project, as well as information on other art and cultural events in the Downtown Georgetown Cultural District, visit arts.georgetown.org.