During the last week of 2017, Built by Bender installed the final of three downtown murals as part of Plano’s Downtown Mural Project. After about two years of designing, researching and organizing the project, artists have left their mark on downtown Plano.
Sarah Fenderson, marketing coordinator for the Historic Downtown Plano Art District, said the mural project was an overall success.
“We love how the murals turned out, especially how each one gets to showcase Plano’s history in a different way,” she said. “Each mural’s really unique.”
All of the downtown murals were based on historical photos, letters and artifacts submitted from residents’ personal collections. Because Plano residents were invited to help inspire the downtown art, Fenderson said it makes the murals much more special.
“A lot of the photos that inspired these murals were submitted by Plano residents. I think that’s a really cool factor that the city gets to look back on. This is a project that they got to contribute to and help create,” Fenderson said. “I think it’s a really cool way we’ve gotten to display Plano’s history.”
The mural project included three unique artists with unique aesthetics. Will Heron, widely known for his graphic style and signature cacti, painted on the west wall of Georgia’s Farmers Market. His mural told five brightly colored stories with Plano symbols and iconography.
Wes Hardin painted a traditional mural that captured a moment from 1900s Plano. The mural, located across from the Downtown Plano DART station, depicts the city’s iconic railway, travelers in traditional garb and the downtown Plano of yesteryear.
The final installation was a modern 3-D piece designed by the Bender brothers – Ariel, Milan and Aaron – that included audio and visual soundwaves to depict Plano stories. Each audio segment was narrated by today’s Plano influencers: Mayor Harry LaRosiliere, Plano Fire Chief Sam Greif, Plano Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jamee Jolly, and the curator of the Interurban Railway Museum, Robert Haynes.
“The third one really got to explore a new medium with the sound component, so we really love getting to combine Plano’s history with the arts district,” Fenderson said.
Gene Dillard, president of the Plano Art Association, described the mural project as “challenging” since each piece was so different, “but we were very pleased, as the Art Association, seeing them all come together.”
Now that the mural project is finished, the Historic Downtown Plano Art District is preparing the annual Wine Walk and ArtFest events.
The Plano Art Association has two events slated for January and February like the annual members show and a new event, the Plaine Air event, where over 100 artists are expected to paint outdoors in Downtown Plano. The Plaine Air event is expected to attract artists from all over North Texas.
As the city moves forward, Dillard hopes future residents will know how important these murals are to Plano’s art district.
“I hope they’ll see them as important installations that helped really confirm downtown as the arts district,” Dillard said. “I hope that they are added to in future years, so they are just the beginning of making the arts district come to life.”