Driving along Silo Road in south Arlington, you’ll eventually cross over a viaduct where, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you’re sure to see kids playing, joggers and bikers exercising and people playing music.
Of course, they’re all on the walls.
Giant murals cover four walls of a viaduct along Silo Road. Even if you’re not one for the arts, it certainly beats what used to be there.
“It was just plain, it blended into the background except every now and then you saw someone else’s...unfortunate artwork,” recalled Kimberly Eby, who lives in a neighborhood on Silo Road.
The “unfortunate artwork” Eby is referring to is graffiti. The walls used to serve as a blank canvas for those with a can of spray paint and an eye for graffiti. Finally fed up with the appearance of their community, neighbors tapped an art student at the University of Texas-Arlington to makeover the walls.
Spearheading and financing the effort was David Berg, a resident who frequently painted over the graffiti only to have vandals restore their work.
But the murals are more than a temporary fix, and local critics – the neighbors – seem to be pleased.
“It’s striking. It really stands out and it’s beautiful,” said Eby.
“It’s pleasant. It’s nice for little kids to see, in strollers, on walks with parents,” said Selso Alcala, who has lived near Silo Road for nearly 10 years.
Changing the scenery in a community can also change the face of that community, said Curtice Ervin with Arlington Crime Prevention.
Ervin said that an neglected area attracts criminal activity, like graffiti vandals. But those vandals are less likely to deface existing artwork, like the murals currently covering the walls.
Eby added, “You drive down that street and it just makes you feel better. It makes you proud about your subdivision and your neighborhood.”