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Posted on: February 15, 2022

McKinney signs contract with international artist Guido van Helten to paint historic silos; asks for

Artist will use resident feedback to shape his future visits to McKinney ahead of painting community-influenced mural as part of his renowned Monuments series 

McKINNEY, Texas (Feb. 15, 2022) – The City of McKinney is pleased to announce a contract has been signed with Australian-based artist Guido van Helten to transform the 100-feet-tall historic concrete silos and grain elevator in the Historic Downtown McKinney Cultural District. Van Helten's Monuments series of photorealistic paintings on silos across the United States has received global recognition, and his designs are influenced and representative of the community in which he works. Restoration work on the silos is underway to prepare the structure for painting.

"Van Helten's mural installed on our historic silos represents an incredible gift to McKinney. Not only will this mural be one of the largest works in North Texas, but the international reputation of the artist helps build an attraction that spotlights our community," said Amy Rosenthal, Director of the McKinney Performing Arts Center and McKinney Main Street. "It serves as a catalyst for development in a section of our downtown rich with cultural history and helps increase the visibility of our own local artists. This one-of-a-kind work honors our past with an eye toward the future and will astonish visitors of all ages."

As the industrial area east of Highway 5 redevelops, the McKinney Silo Mural Project will pay tribute to the City’s rich culture and heritage. The silos will serve as the backdrop for the city's new Municipal Community Complex, which is currently in the design phase. One of the city's goals is to preserve and celebrate the historical elements and culture within the communities in and around the Municipal Community Complex district.

The project will be funded through a combination of grants, private investment, McKinney Public Art Fund and HOT taxes. On Sept. 9, commissioners from the Texas Commission on the Arts approved a $90,000 grant as a Cultural District Project. 

Resident call for community input

"Prior to any design work or painting, the artist is going to immerse himself in the community to learn more about our citizens, heritage, culture, and find the true identity of McKinney," said Rosenthal. "Part of what makes this process unique is that he will use photography and resident interviews to uncover human stories that will help him find a connection to this place. His final design will feature the stories and people of McKinney's diverse community." 

The City of McKinney is requesting residents take a brief survey on the city's website that will be used in crafting van Helten's visits to the city in the spring. 

For more information about the McKinney Silo Mural Project, including background on the artist, a project timeline and the community input survey, visit www.mckinneytexas.org/silos. More on Guido van Helten can be found at GuidoVanHelten.com