The new mural titled "Welcome to Brownsville" on East 13th Street in downtown Brownsville is a creation by local artist Jesse James Lopez, 22 years old.
Lopez began working on the mural on June 17, 2023, after winning the downtown mural contest organized earlier this year by the City of Brownsville in collaboration with several local institutions including the Brownsville Beautification Committee, Brownsville Museum of Fine Art, Revival of Cultural Arts, Consulate of Mexico in Brownsville, and the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley.
The funding for the mural comes from the Musk Foundation and the Brownsville Beautification Committee.
Lopez expects to have the mural completed in a couple of weeks.
Lopez's mural is a celebration of Brownsville's Hispanic culture and its various offerings. It prominently features elements like mariachis, flamenco dancers, the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, animals from the Gladys Porter Zoo, SpaceX, palm trees, and beach waves. Lopez selected these elements to represent the diversity and uniqueness of Brownsville.
Lopez aimed to create a seamless composition rather than a collage, bringing together these different aspects of the city into a single cohesive scene.
“I meshed everything together into one kind of scenery. I didn’t want it to be a collage. I wanted it to be when you look at it, it looks like just a small portrayal of Brownsville,” Lopez said.
The mural portrays the core features that make Brownsville special. He dedicates around five to six hours each day to painting the mural, weather permitting.
Lopez expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to paint the mural, emphasizing that it has been a fantastic chance for him that has opened new doors. He feels proud to have his artwork on display for the entire community to see.
“I couldn’t be more happier and ecstatic that the public will be able to see my work…I am really, really excited to bring the community out and admire the work and bring a lot of color to the street,” Lopez said.
Lopez believes that his mural is fostering community unity and is excited about the vibrancy it will bring to the street. He's enthusiastic about sharing his work with the public and contributing to the colorful atmosphere of Brownsville.
“It’s a God-given gift. God wants me to share it, so I am going to share it with the community. I hope the community appreciates it just as much as I do,” Lopez said.