Here’s the story behind the new mural at McKinney – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

One of the greatest works of art in North Texas is being painted at McKinney.

For weeks, people have watched a mural come to life on the city’s historic silos. On Friday evening, a crowd gathered to snack, play guitar and watch.

“I hope they see each other. It’s kind of the general vibe of the mural,” said Australian artist Guido van Helten.

Van Helton says he started working at McKinney in March taking photos of people and places. He paints photos highlighting a 100-foot-tall concrete silo and grain elevator on East Virginia and Main Streets.

“I take a lot of photos. I have a style that you would call documentary, I guess,” van Helton said.

Known worldwide for his oversized photorealistic murals, McKinney would contribute to van Helten’s series of American silos in Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas and Arkansas.

“We have seen Guido’s work but more importantly we have been impressed with his process and his process is a way in which he roots himself in the community and uses his art to tell the story of a soul of community,” said Kim Flom, associate director of McKinney.

Flom says van Helten and his partner took more than 5,000 photos at McKinney to create the image for the mural.

It will serve as a backdrop for a public square in a new town hall that should open in the fall.

“What better way to preserve the culture of the community than through a beautiful piece of art on a historic structure,” Flom said.

The mural, van Helten says, could be done by the end of the month, but it already connects the community.

The silo project is funded by grants, private donations, the McKinney Public Art Fund, and the city’s tourist tax.