If you’ve been to downtown Wichita Falls recently, you’ll have noticed a new ceramic tile mural gracing the intersection of 7th Street and Indiana Avenue. Spanning four stories, the mural depicts larger-than-life creatures working together to hang the moon.
About the Project
Local artists Steve Hilton and Jesse Baggett designed and installed the mural, which involved creating more than 2,000 mosaic clay tiles by hand. Dozens of art students from Midwestern State University (MSU) Texas helped with the project.
The Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture commissioned Hilton, a ceramics artist and MSU art professor, and Baggett, a painter and Hilton’s former student, in 2020. The Wichita Falls 4B Sales Tax Corporation as well as grants from the Texas Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts funded the project.
It took three years to complete the mural, during which time Hilton and Baggett faced numerous challenges, ranging from COVID-19-related delays to learning curves. It was the first mural for both artists.
“There were problems, the coyote — it was really important for his paw to touch the mountain lion’s paw. Learning how to move the lift…” Baggett explained. “But it was a huge project, and we were definitely inspired to keep on going.”
At a dedication ceremony on February 8, 2023, Wichita Falls Alliance Executive Director Ann Arnold-Ogden explained that the mural “is a testament to Wichita Falls’ long-standing tradition of coming together during difficult times”:
Our community has faced numerous challenges and has always emerged stronger, thanks to the resilience and determination of its residents. The tile mural serves as a powerful symbol of this unity, reminding all of us of the power of working together towards a common goal.-Ann Arnold-Ogden, Executive Director of the Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture
Appropriately, the mural is titled “Better Together.”
Ceramic Tile as Art
For example, ceramic tile is often used for murals because of its ability to be completely customized, durability (especially compared to painted murals) and resistance to water, heat, flames, stains and fading.
With ceramic tile’s ability to stand the test of time, the Wichita Falls mural will be enjoyed both now and by future generations!!
Featured image via the Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts & Culture