Creative Waco Brings Public Art to the People

creative waco public art
Discover local artworks—and the stories behind them—with Creative Waco’s public art map.

Take a look at Creative Waco’s interactive public art map, and you might be surprised at the depth and diversity of art, from wall murals to sculptures to fountains and memorials. But there are many more areas without public art. Could these areas benefit from thoughtful public art and placemaking? If so, who should be involved in the decision-making and funding of such projects?

Public art, as the name implies, is freely available for everyone to enjoy. But unlike other cities, Waco currently has few pathways to create artwork that reflects the history, values, and ambitions of the entire community. Public art in Waco is currently funded primarily by the generosity of private donors. And while philanthropists have always had a hand in financing public art projects—and thank goodness for that!—a new initiative in Waco is intent on creating more mechanisms for funding, selecting, and including the wider population in decisions about public art.

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Chalk Waco Brings Local Art to Downtown Waco

chalk-waco-2022-flyer
Get to downtown Waco this weekend to experience all that Chalk Waco 2022 has to offer.

In 2019, the initial pilot project that’s become Chalk Waco was the brainchild of MC Art Supplies, the Central Texas Artist Collective, Cultivate 7twelve, and Creative Waco. Their goal was to provide a corridor on Austin Avenue to display the work of local artists for runners participating in the Silo District Marathon. It came to life as a small, two-block affair, with ten-to-fifteen businesses participating and sponsoring the artwork, but the response from the community was so resoundingly positive that it returned, albeit in a smaller incarnation, in 2021 after a hiatus due to the pandemic.

This year, Creative Waco has partnered with four local markets to bring in more vendors, food trucks, and musicians to entertain the estimated 15,000 people who will attend the event. Over the coming weekend, Chalk Waco will span four blocks of Austin Avenue in downtown Waco and feature street art, wall murals on the 7th Street Plaza, a fashion show highlighting local designers, live music, and over a hundred vendors selling everything from tacos to t-shirts… and everything in between. 

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Making Their Mark: An ARTPrenticeship Showcase

The Spirit of We, painted behind Brotherwell Brewing, was a 2019 ARTPrenticeship project.

Murals consisting of bright colors and exciting, meaningful designs are a frequent sight in the downtown and East Waco areas. Many people drive past them every day and likely wonder who painted them. One of the groups behind some of these murals is Creative Waco, which pairs local students with professional mentors in its ARTPrenticeship program.

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