350 create mural to unify community

Mercy Yermo

Mural’s watercolor sketch by Anne Farley Gaines. Photo contributed by Anne Farley Gaines.

About 10 people showed up to Anne Farley Gaines’ workshop on Feb. 21- part of an 18-month endeavour. But overall, some 350 people contributed to the collaborative mural project which Gaines said was designed to unify the community.

According to Gaines, the 18-month-long project will unify the community of Wichita Falls as it welcomes everyone willing to participate.

“I am envisioning a wealth of creativity from [the people’s] hands eventually gracing a wall in the community with many images that should be inspired by what [they] love most about Wichita Falls,” Gaines said.

Director of Public Programs Mary Helen Maskill said people from throughout Wichita Falls have collaborated with the mural.

“We have loved having so many people collaborate and take part in our community project,” Maskill said.

The Wichita Falls Museum of Art at Midwestern State University sponsored the project through a grant from the Priddy Foundation, made by Francine Carraro, director of the WFMA, who also brought in Gaines after seeing her work.

“Francine saw my previous work such as the ‘Treasures of Palos Heights’ in Palos Heights, Illinois, and we started working together,” Gaines said.

Gaines has been exhibited mainly in the Midwest region of the U.S., and has been both a member and an affiliate member of the internationally recognized exhibition, ARC Gallery, since 1984.

“I really loved painting with the techniques that Mrs. Gaines taught us. People that live in Wichita Falls will get to see my work when they drive by it,” Brown said.

The opportunity to participate is not restricted from anyone, according to Maskill. 10-year-old Rachel Brown contributed to the project by painting a mustang.

“A lot of members of the community have done an outstanding job with their pieces for what will be a 15′ tall and 30′ wide creation,” Maskill said.

The mural will be exhibited at the old Zales Jewelers store located between 8th Street and Ohio Avenue during the Art and Soul Festival on June 24.