Imagine this: You’re driving through a small town. It can be any small town, any that you’ve visited anywhere. You drive past the local theater, the local pharmacy, the restaurants, the library…
Then suddenly—bam, there it is!
Right on the side of the building, a huge, flowing, waterfall of color—a mural so beautiful you absolutely have to stop and stare. And just like that, it’s not just any small town anymore.
Wood County is full of places like this. Thanks to Flint & Steel Coalition, the “Wood County Walls” group began painting murals on the sides of some of Wood County’s most beloved and visible buildings, including MPrints in Mineola, Gilbreath Memorial Library in Winnsboro, and the Speakeasy Coffeehouse in Quitman, to name just a few. Fantastic, imaginative, and highly introspective messages flutter—sometimes literally—across these old buildings, causing passersby to stop and take photos frequently. Additionally, each mural has its own particular history and significance, making each wall not only worth coming to see but also worth reading about.
Flowers, Willie Nelson, peacocks, and more make an appearance among these amazing Wood County Walls. Some of the walls were even painted by independent or local artists! Check out a few of them below!
The Wood County Unity Mural
This wall was the first to be commissioned and painted in Wood County. Artfully crafted on the side of the Mineola Taqueria Plancarte, it was painted in June 2022 and took five days to complete. Interestingly enough, it was not the city that actually created the idea for the mural, but instead, it was local Mineola middle schoolers in collaboration with master artist Luis Valle and Mineola’s Flint & Steel Coalition.
This mural, like many others created after it, was very, very much a community effort.
“Unity”—the idea behind the mural itself—was really achieved for this painting the moment that more than 100 volunteers, both young and old, decided to help create it. And importantly, the mural is on the side of one of the first buildings in town, so that every time passersby go in or out of Mineola, the first and last message they see is one of “unity” and “comm-unity.”
See more photos of this amazing 80-foot mural here!
The Hawkins Mural
Art is an ongoing thing. In the case of murals, it’s never “finished,” and it’s never “over and done with.” It keeps growing and updating as communities change and grow.
Such is the case with Hawkins’ amazing wall art. Although the original mural on the side of the Wellness Center in downtown Hawkins has been there for many years, a new mural is currently being planned and carried out even today!
Fundraised, designed, and painted by Patsy Kirklin and Torrance Ladner of Hawkins, the mural will be an eye-catching combination of most everything Hawkins is proud of. Among many other items, the Texas flag, the Jarvis Christian University Bulldogs mascot, and a thick, buttery stack of pancakes make an appearance.
If you would like to help fund, paint, or even just admire this community mural, you can still do so, as it is a work in progress! Please visit the Hawkins Mural Fund page here.
The Bowery Street Art
The Bowery’s beloved keyboard “street art” display in downtown Winnsboro goes to show that just because something is called a mural doesn’t mean that it has to be on a wall.
This roughly 20’x12’ street painting was created in August 2021, when it was designed by Donna Page and implemented by Women’s Art Force. Today, it lies next to another of Winnsboro’s many murals, the “Culture Club Art Gallery Display.” It is also found next to the Bowery’s mesmerizing “glass ball” water fountain.
Winnsboro, a destination well known for its artistic pursuits, boasts more than 20 murals throughout the city!
The Musgraves Wall Mural
Mineola, too, is rife with murals and wall art. The “HQ” of the Wood County Walls group and its mother organization, Flint & Steel Coalition, Mineola has tons and tons of community projects to show off.
One of the most breathtaking of these is its newest project, the “Musgraves Wall.” Painted by internationally-acclaimed artist Luis Valle and designed in direct collaboration with the Musgraves family (Craig, Karen, Kelly, and Kacey), this gorgeous mural has been painted on the side of MPrints—a Musgraves-owned business—in downtown Mineola.
According to the Wood County Walls website, “The design will pay homage to the creative arts of print, design, and music. That reflects the legacy of the Musgraves family.”
The first half of the wall features a huge, almost Warhol-esque painting of the great country music artist, Willie Nelson. All in amazing technicolor—including his iconic braids—this tribute to the Texas singer is so well done that its eyes seem to be looking through you.
The other half of the wall is covered with an enchanting rendition of one of Kacey Musgraves’ beautiful guitars. Darkened wood graces the outside of this roughly 20-foot painted instrument; elegant, spotted monarch butterflies flutter and float around the guitar’s body and strings.
The wall also has a “selfie spot” at its edge--an amazing, tie-dye/stained-glass colored butterfly opens its wings for any who wants to stand “inside” it for a photo.
This Is Alba Mural
Alba’s sweet and simple mural reflects the goodwill and simplicity of the people of Alba themselves.
This mural was painted in 2019 by Erica Fry. Designed by both Fry and Robin Honaker, the mural was is displayed on the side of Honaker’s “Robin’s Nest Antique Store” in Alba. Unlike many other Wood County Walls, Alba’s well-known mural (allegedly, people from as far away as Scotland have taken their pictures with it) is presented completely in black and white.
The mural features attributes central to the small town’s founding. These include a mining cart, which pays homage to the town’s coal mining start, a large bass for Lake Fork—the premier bass fishing lake in the entire United States—and a likening of Alba’s water tower.
According to the Wood County Monitor, Honaker says that Fry “has so much talent” and that feedback for the mural has been very positive. Honaker “[has] not heard one negative comment.”
The Gilbreath Memorial Library Wall Paintings
The Gilbreath Memorial Library mural? All we can say to mural creator, Margit Iguchi, is… wow.
This stunning set of murals was painted in 2021.
It’s every little kid’s dream to step into this amazing library with its special Wood County makeover. Complete with a vined “tree” holding up the blue sky of the ceiling, an ancient, tower-esque stone wall with wooden doors (hint—there’s a TV inside), and what has been painted to look like miles and miles of rolling hills in the distance, the mural section of this library really has been transformed into a “gateway to adventure.”
The children’s section of the library also has an alcove of windows, adding natural light to what was already a beautiful area to observe. The mural additionally features a section with favorite traditional animals, including a tiger, panda, zebra, and toucan.
Wood County just springs and stems with color. Waterfalls of paint spread deep into the community, sending waves of joy to all who pass through these beloved Wood County towns. From Hawkins, Alba, Golden, and Winnsboro to Mineola, Quitman, Hawkins, and Yantis, each Wood County town features at least one of the Wood County Walls’ beautiful community paintings. Visit the Wood County Walls website to find more information and to see a map of where each mural is located.