Commerce unveils new downtown murals

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COMMERCE, TX -- Just over a month ago a shop in downtown Commerce was completely bare and solid white. Now, weeks later, a vintage mural coats the wall as part of the city's revitalization effort.

"We're very proud of it," said Commerce Tourism/Event Coordinator Sherry Johnson. "We hope that it's the beginning of a revitalization movement for our downtown area."

Dr. Pepper sponsored the mural, while Texas A&M University-Commerce art students painted it during their summer class. Art Department Head, Joe Daun, says the opportunity gave his students a chance to learn professional practices.

"It gave our painting students another way that they can actually earn a living," said Daun.

"It's a great feeling to know that we were able to serve the community and also gain a great experience," said art student Corina Richards.

The Lion mural isn't the only one the students completed over the past month, a second mural next to city hall was also painted during the same time span. A third mural is planned for this fall.

"We have other murals coming around," said Dr. Pepper Division Sales Manager Scott McDowell. "Maybe this becomes the mural capital of East Texas at some point in time and we're glad to be a starting point of that."

Resident Rachel Cramer hopes the murals will help the city expand and bring more businesses downtown.

"It makes us look proud of community, I think that's important," said Cramer. "It will make people want to live here and makes us look kind of trendy, kind of modern."

The Commerce High School will be the theme for the third mural in the fall.