Downtown Art

"La Serenata" by Leonardo Castillo was one of eight winners chosen in the Downtown Mesquite public art contest. Each of the winning entries will be reproduced and mounted on eight 10-foot by 7-foot panels.

Much of the work so far on the Downtown Mesquite revitalization project has been in the form of business development, budgeting and infrastructure. But that will soon change with a little artistic flair added to the equation.

The City of Mesquite on Thursday announced the results of the first Downtown Mesquite public art contest. The winners’ art will be displayed at the new Front Street Station project in the city’s historic downtown area.

Selected as winners were Lauren Armstrong with “Crosswinds,” Leonardo Castillo with “La Serenata,” Jessica Chappell with “Meet Me in Mesquite,” Susie Cortez with “Anaya Harmony,” Paige Lehmann with “When Joy Bursts Through the Cracks,” Tony Morris with “Mesquite Train Depot” and “Main Street” and Daniel Yanez with “Rare Rose.” Click here to see all winning entries.

In September of last year, the Mesquite Downtown Development Advisory Board – along with staff of the Mesquite Arts Center – conducted a Call for Artists for artwork to be reproduced and mounted on eight 10-foot by 7-foot panels.

Brad Brandt, the Mesquite Downtown Development Advisory Board chairman said more than 40 entries were received from professional and amateur artists as well as students throughout the area.

“We look forward to installing these pieces as the first of what we hope will be many public art opportunities in Downtown Mesquite for years to come,” Brandt said.

Front Street Station is a $5.5 million infrastructure improvement project currently under construction. The project includes under-ground upgrades such as installation of grease traps to accommodate restaurant development. In addition, the project will feature public art, more than 50 new parking spaces, a performance pavilion and an area for small events as well as a “pocket park” that will provide pedestrian passage between Front and Main streets.

Downtown Development manager Beverly Abell called art forms one of the lynchpins of the downtown development strategy.

“This project hits on several key priorities – including providing public art, involving the public in the form of these artists and boosting the appearance of the district,” Abell said.

In addition to the new artwork and the Front Street Station project improvements, the City in December approved two more façade grants for downtown businesses. Hair Affair and Barber’s Ink – both on Main Street – will undergo significant enhancements to their building exteriors as part of a program that covers 50 percent reimbursement of the cost up to $20,000.

The Façade Improvement Grant Program also includes free design services and is funded by the Towne Centre Tax Increment Finance Reinvestment Zone No. 2. The first two Downtown Mesquite façade improvement grants were approved by the City Council in October 2019. 

Other downtown updates include the opening of MVP Nutrition & Energy late last year, the announced late spring or early opening of Alejandros at Front Street Station and the April completion and grand opening of Front Street Station.

Additionally, the former Paperbacks Plus was sold and is now under new ownership as The Book Co. and Abell said a new organizer for the downtown farmers market will soon be chosen in time for a likely June startup. The farmers market will also shift from Heritage Square to Front Street Station.

More information on Downtown Mesquite is available online, by calling Abell at 972-216-6450 or via email at Downtown@CityofMesquite.com

Editor's Note: The City of Mesquite Communications Department contributed to this article.

Kent Miller is a Mesquite native with three decades of newspaper experience. His passion for community journalism is reflected in his work on Make It Mesquite. He also produces editorial content for the City of Mesquite through Pegasus Media Dallas.