Lake Wichita spillway mural nearly complete

Lake Wichita spillway mural nearly complete
It has taken artist Ralph Stearns a week to nearly complete the Lake Wichita spillway mural. (Source: KAUZ)
A largemouth bass coming out of water is the focus of Stearns mural. (Source: KAUZ)
A largemouth bass coming out of water is the focus of Stearns mural. (Source: KAUZ)

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - If you are headed to Lake Wichita, you'll probably notice a new addition to the spillway.

For months Wichita Falls artist Ralph Stearns has had a vision for a mural on the Lake Wichita spillway. He didn't know whether it would come to fruition, but now it has.

"This is just another step forward," Lake Wichita Advocate, Stephen Garner said. "It's a great opportunity for people to come out on a beautiful day and enjoy something they can't get anywhere else."

Many Lake Wichita regulars showed up to the park in August to graffiti of an egret on the spillway. Turns out it was just Stearns.

"After some really strong support from the community, the city decided not to paint over it because it is graffiti," Garner said.

In October Stearns presented his idea to city council, who decided to allow him to paint the mural.

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

He's spent the last week painting it and is now close to finishing.

"I think the public is going to thoroughly enjoy coming up to the picnic bench and enjoying an afternoon sandwich or some chicken or whatever they want to bring with them, and see some beautiful artwork," Garner said.

That's exactly what Wichita Falls resident Michael Young did.

He's lived in Wichita Falls for six months and loves coming to Lake Wichita to fly his drone and rollerblade. When he saw the mural, he was taken back.

"It's a beautiful piece of art," Young said. "People can come and take a look at it. It's an attraction and will bring more people down here. So I think that's wonderful."

He thinks Lake Wichita has lots to offer and believes the mural will help bring in people from out of town. Garner agrees.

"You can drive by this a quarter mile away and can see the colors, you can see the different images, the largemouth bass that's in the center coming out of the water reaching up for the dragonfly," Garner said. "I am so excited for things like this to continue to come together for this project."

Garner is eager to see what the mural does for Lake Wichita and just how many more people it brings to the community.

The project totaled $13,000 and was privately funded. Stearns is finishing up some minor details to the mural that's expected to be done by next week.

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