Palestine mural program

The mural being painted by Diego Baracaldo, from Longview, on the footwall in front of the Herald Press, will depict the history of Palestine.

More murals have begun popping up across downtown Palestine as part of the city’s mural arts program. The Palestine City Council approved the mural program in 2021 as a way to enhance the downtown area and promote the arts.

Through this program, murals are being placed in locations visible from a public street, sidewalk or right-of-way that are accessible to the public with the hope of attracting visitors and tourists to the city.

PALESTINE MURAL PROGRAM

The mural pictured above is located on the public bathrooms at the Farmers Market.

There are three new murals in progress in the downtown area. One on the public bathrooms at the Farmers Market/Visitor Center. Another mural has begun to take shape on the footing wall at the Palestine Herald-Press. And one on a wall at 309 W. Main St.

“Murals can really awaken an area, and have already shown how a community can come together to create something for everyone to enjoy,” said Mary Raum, Palestine’s Tourism Marketing Manager. “The first mural in the program required that it be designed as a paint by numbers so the community could participate in the making of it. It created a sense of pride and ownership and people from all walks of life came to be part of it.”

The first mural completed was Deanna Pickett Frye’s “Palestine in Color.” This mural is located in the parking lot to the left of Cream and Coffee. It’s a textile-stained glass inspired design depicting the rich heritage of Palestine. Each section is symbolic in meaning, from left to right: community, growth, architecture, industry and landscape.

The mural was created by Frye to allow for a community paint day. The design was drawn as a giant "paint by number" so participants could fill in solid colors. Everything was mixed and labeled and brushes for the project were provided.

More than 50 community members turned out to help paint during the community painting day Oct. 16. By hosting the community paint day, Frye was able to keep the cost of the project down.

“They all should be completed by the end of the month so we will have added some very unique and beautiful canvases to our downtown landscape in under six months,” Raum said.

Funding is provided from the city’s Hotel Occupancy Tax revenues. According to Raum, up to 15% of the HOT tax can be used to protect the arts. In 2021, the council approved a sum of $24,000 in HOT tax funds for this project.

The city has also defined criteria to be followed for each art installment and will have approval over the artist’s rendering selected for each canvas space and location.

After a location for a mural is established, artists submit a proposal to the Tourism board for approval.

Property owners in Palestine work with artists to establish a plan and costs for the project. The artist is responsible for all necessary supplies for the canvas and will be paid in two separate payments. The art and the amount awarded for each project will be defined in a Request for Quote/Request for Proposal.

PALESTINE MURALS

The pink Texas mural, pictured above right, is not part of the city’s mural program. This mural was done privately, but is exactly what the Palestine Tourism board hoped to inspire – individuals investing in their property where it is allowable by city ordinance.

All murals are required to have an anti-graffiti coating applied to them.

Once complete, the sponsor and the artist will be responsible for maintenance, repairs, restoration of the mural, including graffiti abatement, for a period of 60 months after the date of completion of the project. After the end of the 60 month maintenance period, the sponsor can choose to remove or alter the mural, however, the sponsor must first notify the city of its plans and provide the city an opportunity to make recommendations concerning the canvas space.

Raum said she hopes to be able to open up another round of RFPs for new locations by the end of January, with hopes of having one or two more by Dogwood Trails Celebration in March.

Property owners interested in being a sponsor should contact Raum.

For questions or more information, call 903-723-3053 or email mraum@palestine-tx.org.

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