Artists work turning into city's treasure

Renderings From Local Artist Ralph Stearns
Renderings From Local Artist Ralph Stearns
Egret Pained On Lake Wichita Spillway
Egret Pained On Lake Wichita Spillway

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - A new mural is coming to the Lake Wichita spillway and will be painted by local artist Ralph Stearns.

On Tuesday, Wichita Falls City Councilors passed a resolution granting him permission to complete the project.

This whole project started with an illegal painting of an egret on the lake's spillway that Chairman of the Lake Wichita Revitalization Committee, Stephen Garner, saw while on a jog one summer morning.

Turns out it was sketched by Stearns.

"The purpose of my life is to create art," Stearns said. "And I love doing it. It's the reason why I'm here."

Now it has turned into much more than anyone imagined. The city is giving Stearns a chance to finish his mural.

"It was really gratifying to see so many people in our community now looking at the beauty of art like that and wanting it," Garner said. "It's one of the reasons we are here today."

The mural will consist of wildlife that includes fish, turtles, and egrets.

"His vision for wildlife and nature is just incredible," Garner added.

Wichita Falls Mayor Stephen Santellana said art and culture are two things the city's been missing in the past. He believes this is an opportunity to get people looking at Wichita Falls and their lake revitalization project.

"You don't have to be a fan of art or the arts to understand what he paints is interesting," Mayor Santellana said. "It makes you stop and take a look at it."

"You go out after you finish at church on Sunday, or you go out after you finished work for the day to enjoy the sunset at Lake Wichita, Garner said. "You will have some great artwork to admire."

Once completed, it will be Stearns tenth mural in the Falls.

"To use my skills and talents to make our city a more beautiful place is a wonderful thing for me," Stearns said. "And I enjoy my work. I'm passionate about it."

"I think this story will continue," he added. "It started with the egret but I think it's going to end wonderfully."

Stearns said that he would like to start the project as soon as possible, especially with the cold weather quickly approaching.

But he said he will be unable to do so until he's able to raise $13,000 dollars.

Stearns asked the city to fund it, but they said they could not because it's not allocated in the budget.

However, Mayor Santellana and Garner encourage the public to give any amount they can.

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