An idea born in late 2018 is now coming to fruition in downtown Alpine.
While Alpine has long been recognized for its many beautiful murals, the alley between Fifth and Sixth streets is a new addition to the city’s vibrant art scene. In fact, the project started way back in 1999 with extensive improvements to the adjoining parking lot, a tree-lined walkway, and a dumpster enclosure, all constructed with grant funds obtained by the now-defunct Alpine Main Street program.
At the time, the plan was to improve pedestrian and ADA access in the alley areas, along with Old Town Square, and creation of the Wall of Pioneers. The alley was also envisioned as a meeting place for small events away from the main thoroughfare.
Most recent efforts were spearheaded by Liz Sibley, Carolyn Mangrem, Chris Ruggia, and Nancy Whitlock, with help from David Busey and the Alpine Downtown Association.
Whitlock owns Whitlock Studio of Fine Art on Sixth Street, and the back of her gallery has an entrance to the alley.
“This is where it all started, but I have heard other people in adjacent alleys saying they want to have murals too,” she said. “So it’s likely to spread, and it’s growing in the alleys in both directions. Right now, there’s just talk about doing some other murals.”
Whitlock said the project started with Tom and Carolyn Mangem’s Alley View Gallery. Caroline commissioned Pauline Hernandez to render their mural, a blend of ceramics and paint, and some other artists contributed.
“That got the murals started, and Liz Sibley and I talked about more. We wanted local artists. Tom Curry started one, and it kind of snowballed after that,” said Whitlock.
Other local artists with murals and sculptures in the alley include Caroline Macartney, Kathleen Griffith, the Sul Ross Art Club, Juliana Johnson, Jan Moeller and her art groups, John Sufficool, Thomas Tessier, and the Fort Stockton High School art class, among others.
Whitlock also credited TransPecos Bank for helping make the project happen.
“It’s fun, and it’s my backyard, so I really enjoy it. It’s a dream come true,” said Whitlock. “It just makes sense that we expand it, and make Alpine more of a walking town. People just love it, it’s different and fun.”
Whitlock encouraged visitors and residents alike to visit the alley.
“You’ll learn more about the history of Alpine, the local artists, and the entrepreneurs in in the area,” she said.