Stephanie Gardner has been busy heading up Durant Main Street and all the activities they promote.
Murals are popping up in downtown Durant, meant to help beautify the city.
“Art in the Alley” is underway with plans for more as more businesses and building owners participate.
A mural was painted recently on Lost Street, which is the alley behind businesses facing Main street.
It’s a storage space, in an old building, that is owned by James Glass. It’s right near the corner of Lost and Second Avenue.
A butterfly painting was created and painted by Moonlight Murals, the husband and wife team of Clay and Dottie Moore.
Gardner said, “We aren’t wanting to mess up any historical brick. If someone wants a mural, they can contact us for details. We chose a wall that already had graffiti on it.”
This solved two problems. It eliminated the graffiti and beautified the space.
She said, “We used the butterfly to cover up the graffiti.”
We are hoping, with Durant City Council approval, that we can get more of these murals done. We’ve already had several businesses on Main wanting a mural on the back of their building.”
She said community involvement is essential for this effort.
Gardner said other cities are doing the same thing to their downtown.
“Some of the murals are more modern, and possibly more daring than people want to see all the time. So we thought, we’ll start in the alley. We’ll cover graffiti too and it’s a safe testing zone. We can be a little more daring back there, instead of on a building facing Main Street every day.
“We will still do other art, but this is a good place to start.”
The murals are paid for in a partnership between the building owner and the artists.
The business owner and Durant Main Street will partner on future murals.
Gardner said, “On the butterfly mural, Durant Main Street purchased the paint. The building owner has paid the labor.”
She said Durant Main Street is kicking in some money from a $500 grant they received.
The possibilities are endless with making murals happen in Durant.
Many people remember the Red River Arts Council placing the horses in town. Gardner said they aren’t sponsoring this, but some artists will participate in both organizations. She said, “I’m sure some future murals could be painted by those artists. “
There are two other murals many people might have missed. One is on the west side wall of Jimmy Speed Law Firm building on the south side of Market Square. It’s of Abraham Lincoln and incorporates the Jimmy Speed name.
Another was painted on a panel of a Dumpster located on the north side of Market Square.
Gardner said, “There’s a pretty magnolia painted there. It’s not a mural, but they painted the flower to tie in with the magnolia theme. The Speed mural of Lincoln was the first one.
Everyone has a cell phone with a camera and Durant has many professional photographers, always looking for backgrounds for their subjects.
Another new mural is being planned for the back alley, on the building known as “The Plaza” on Main.
Gardner said, “A lot of people will want their photo made in front of some of our new murals. We are hoping it draws more foot traffic downtown and people spend their money. People will shop, eat and have a good time downtown.”
Contact Dan Pennington at (580) 634-2162 or email@example.com.