We are excited to announce that the “Welcome to Brownsville” mural proposal is the winning mural that will be featured at 1268 E. Elizabeth St.
Admirers of Brownsville’s heritage, art, and traditions participated in community voting.
Voting was available online and in person and was open for two weeks. In addition to voting, citizens were encouraged to attend the “Meet the Muralist Finalists,” an event hosted by the Revival of Cultural Arts (ROCA), and supported by partners. Over 6,000 ballots were cast; the results helped determine the lead muralist for the downtown mural project. “Welcome to Brownsville,” by artist Jesse James rose to the top among the three finalists.
"I began by taking the criteria from the initial mural call and wrote down everything that I wanted to include into my design. I knew I wanted to include many ideas without making it cluttered, I just didn't know how. I began sketching the important aspects such as our celebrations of our cultural festivities, a place of worship, Gladys Porter Zoo, South Padre Island, and other details that can be identified by the community,” James said discussing how he came up with his mural’s design. “Once I had all my ideas sketched out, I began to construct them together to create a scene that represents our rich community. My goal was to create a surreal scenery that captures the entirety of what Brownsville has become today, and I believe I ended up achieving just that. I did not want to stay stuck in the past, or look too far into the future, as the beauty in “right now” is something I always want to advocate for.``
“I am extremely grateful for winning this mural opportunity and I want to give a big thank you to every single person that voted! I have dedicated my life to Fine Arts and this marks only the beginning of my journey into giving back to my community with my art. I couldn’t be more ambitious in bringing this idea to life and cannot wait to revitalize 13th street!"
The colorful mural features mariachis, flamenco dancers, the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, animals from the Gladys Porter Zoo, SpaceX, palm trees, and beach waves.
The City of Brownsville (COB), in collaboration with the Brownsville Beautification Committee (BBC), Brownsville Museum of Fine Art (BMFA), Revival of Cultural Arts (ROCA), Consulate of Mexico in Brownsville, and the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), invited local muralists, through a “Call to Artist”, to apply to develop the mural to be located at 1268 E. Elizabeth St. The funding for this mural is made possible by the Musk Foundation and the Brownsville Beautification Committee.
The contest rules required that the murals be one or multiple themes combined; these include Welcome to Brownsville, Culture, Downtown (Highlight Historic sites, heart of downtown), Brownsville Innovation (Space, business, tech, entertainment), Native Wildlife and Habitat (Birding, Ocelots, etc.), Main City Sites (Mall, Bike Trails, Resacas, Zoo, Sports Park), Anchor Institutions (Educational).