As the Rail District emerges as a new brand for the central area of Historic Downtown Frisco, we can’t help but notice the small but significant changes taking place already. It truly is Progress in Motion as this destination in the heart of the city enjoys re-imagination and revival.
If you park the car and take the time to walk from west to east on Main Street beginning near 2nd Street, you’ll discover some new artwork now adorning what were once bare walls. These beautiful murals reflect the vibrancy, business, and culture of the area with a touch of history built in. Follow our guide and take a walking tour of the Rail District’s new art (or a mural crawl if you will….).
At the corner of 4th and Main, you’ll find Innovative Images Photography. One of the longest-standing businesses on Main Street, they’ve been in this location since 1992.
“Having been in this location so long, we thought it was time to make better use of the wall and add a nice touch to the space,” explained Tana Nelson, Owner and Marketing Director.
She worked with local artist Misty Oliver Foster, a specialist in high-quality murals, to commission the unique design. Misty shared,
I enjoyed working with the Nelsons to create a fun photo spot for downtown visitors. We took some elements from the past and gave it a pop of modern color. Hopefully it makes people smile as they drive by and encourages them to stop and take a selfie while they’re downtown. As a downtown resident I’m happy to see some art on the walls around here and I’m even happier that I got to be a part of creating some of it.
Across the street at 4th and Main, visit the Main Street gazebo with its garden and surrounding trees. Here you’ll find the most recent art project, an impressive, colorful, large-scale mural. The mural was unveiled to the public in November 2018 and features the work of Frisco Artist Joshua Boulet.
The Downtown Wall Mural Project was managed by Frisco Arts and funded by The Rotary Club of Frisco and the Downtown Advisory Board. The mural preserves and showcases the spirit of Frisco through the theme Frisco: Past and Present.
This piece depicts the rich history of Frisco and the development to where we are today. You’ll find familiar landmarks, diverse cultures, our thriving sports community, and an interactive spot where the public can become part of the mural.
Born in Dallas, Joshua also lived for many years in Singapore before returning to Texas and eventually graduating from The Colony High School. He dreamed of becoming a full-time artist, having traveled the world to gain inspiration for a project called “Sketch the World.” He lived in Seattle, New York, San Francisco, and Colorado, before returning to settle with his family in Frisco. Boulet says,
I’m excited that this mural is going to be part of Frisco for a long time. The mural represents the past and present of the city, and I hope it will be a place where people can take selfies, hang out, and stare at the awesome art. I plan to use the results of this mural to help me continue to travel the world with my ‘Sketch the World’ series and I would love to create more art for Frisco, or any other city that wants me to paint for them.
The purpose of The Mural Project is to use art to give Frisco a sense of home, increase walkability to downtown, and become an economic driver for the area. Frisco Arts President Julie Shipp shared,
Frisco Arts had received multiple requests to be involved in updating the mural on 4th and Main, and the time was right for our arts community to rally around a signature project that tangibly represents the local talent in Frisco. We’re grateful for the opportunity to manage this process in collaboration with our partners, and we look forward to assisting in creating more murals in the Rail District.
See how the story of this mural unfolds in pictures on Joshua’s website.
Walk a little further up Main Street to new restaurant venue Didi’s Downtown on the north side of Main at 7th Street. Here again is a one-of-a-kind mural created by world-renowned artist Patrick Ganino.
Patrick is a childhood friend of Didi’s owner Scott Hoffner. He agreed to make the trip out from the east coast to create artwork on the side of the restaurant that reflects the history and current destination of the Rail District.
As you walk up you may think the painting is unfinished but look closer and you will discover a clever twist in the design. The mural reflects the railway history of Frisco as well as a very personal touch to include Scott’s children.
Patrick has worked around the world and with many high-profile people such as Charlie Sheen, Denis Rodman, Rosie O’Donnell, and Magic Johnson, to name but a few. In addition, he has participated in many TV shows like Extreme Makeover, Bar Rescue and Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares. He described to us his inspiration for this mural.
Nothing pleases an artist more than a large blank canvas in a high traffic area. For this piece, I really wanted to create something unique that made viewers look twice. When I was a kid growing up I saw a mural that changed my life. It was a painting of a scene with the artist painted into the mural as if it was a work in progress. This is my ode to that artist with a design that was not only relevant to the restaurant but also the community. If I can add something special to a business and the viewers it makes me happy but if I can inspire some young budding artist in any way it makes it all worth it!
Follow more of Patrick’s amazing work here.
That concludes your tour (for now). Next time you’re taking a trip to one of the many unique stores, boutiques, or eateries in the Rail District, take the time to view these spectacular works of art adorning the walls of local businesses. Be sure to take that selfie beside them and share on social media with the hashtag #seeyourselfinfrisco.