A Union Pacific train rolled slowly by as Jamie Robinson painted with a steady hand on the back wall of Longview World of Wonders, working on a mural for the downtown hands-on children’s museum. Robinson, 37, hoped to get a little painting in Monday before the rain started.
“I’m working on the ‘Keep Longview Beautiful’ logo part,” Robinson said, opening a can of bright blue paint. “It’s supposed to start raining soonish but until it does, I can probably get a little bit done.”
The mural is brightly colored with blues, featuring the silhouettes of playing children, gears, a crane and other items as well as the LongviewWOW logo. Robinson said she works with a whimsical style.
“We wanted it to be reflective of what’s inside the museum,” Marketing Coordinator Beth Swindell said. “To bring what’s on the inside of the museum out onto the wall.”
Robinson has been working on the project for weeks, interrupted by the frequent recent thunderstorms. Finally, she said the mural is complete. The project did not go off without a mishap, Robinson said. The lift used to help Robinson paint the top of the mural became stuck in mud created by the storms.
“We laughed about it,” she said.
The mural encompasses visuals of the many learning experiences at the museum and is in a place where it can be seen by many. The overflow parking for LongviewWOW and area where buses of children are usually parked is by the back wall. Cotton Street, across the tracks behind the building, is also well traveled.
“We want to invite people to see what’s downtown,” Swindell said.
The project has actually taken years to come to fruition. Swindell wanted a mural on the back of the building but was hesitant to grant funds for beautification when they could be used for exhibits.
In April 2020, Robinson was stuck inside due to the pandemic and wanted to host a Facebook giveaway to paint a mural.
“I was like, I’m so tired of social media being depressing,” Robinson said. “I’m going to give a mural to somebody.”
The East Mountain artist has been painting for family and friends for about 16 or 17 years, she said. Now, she is working on a bigger scale.
“I just started within the last year actually doing it more like a business, but it’s still mostly for fun,” Robinson said.
Robinson ended up painting one for The Boys & Girls Club of the Big Pines in Gregg County but Longview WOW also applied.
After the giveaway, Keep Longview Beautiful contacted LongviewWOW to help the museum apply for a grant that would allow Swindell to commission a mural.
Robinson worked with the museum to make it happen.
The project would not be possible without the grant, donations and volunteers who made it happen.
“I can’t thank the people who donated enough,” Swindell said.
Scott Nolan painted the wall white to give Robinson a blank canvas of 3,000 square feet.
In total, Keep Longview Beautiful matched the museum’s $3,000 raised funds bringing the total of the project to $6,000.
Paint Etc. donated the paint for the mural. The mural will be lit up at night once stick lighting is installed.
“We have a plan in place to keep it maintained,” Swindell said.
With LongviewWOW’s fifth birthday coming in August, Swindell said it’s a sweet gift.
“I smile every time I drive by,” she said.
For Robinson, she said she is living the dream by painting a mural for the city to enjoy.
“I just like to make spaces especially fun,” she said.