History in the painting

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A sketch is shown as artist Justine Wollaston works on a mural on the side of Madam's on McCart in downtown Krum on Thursday .
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Volunteer garden group raises $3,000 for new mural in downtown Krum

KRUM — A new mural looks to bring pride in its history to a local community.

On Thursday, finishing touches were put on a 13-by-70-foot mural in Krum depicting the city’s farming history and significance of the railroad in the community.

Volunteer garden group Krum Bright and Beautiful, a club made up of six individuals, raised more than $3,000 for mural expenses and commissioned the artwork. The group is known in the community for beautifying the city with flowers they purchase, plant and water in planters on McCart Street.

“We’re pretty proud of it,” said Mary Jo Warren, of Krum Bright and Beautiful. “This was our gift to the people in Krum.

“It will be a gift that will be there for years to come.”

Located downtown on West McCart Street in Old Town Krum on the side of the Madam’s on McCart building, the wall mural was painted by Pilot Point artist Justine Wollaston.

Wollaston said she has spent 80 to 90 hours on the project.

“This is one of my biggest commissions for a mural,” she said. “We were keen to highlight the historical aspect.”

The project is about 18 months in the making and was brought to fruition with help from local businesses who either donated money or other services. Names of donors will appear at the bottom of the mural, Warren said.

In addition to collecting donations, the club has raised money the past several years for a project, sometimes recycling paper for cash. But the fundraising initially wasn’t for a mural, Warren said. The idea to put the money toward a mural was suggested about 18 months ago.

Since then, the group has negotiated lease rights with owners of Madam’s on McCart to paint the mural on the building’s east-facing wall.

Based on old photographs at the Krum Heritage Museum, the mural recreates a sepia-toned scene of Krum wheat farmers standing alongside piled wagons at harvest and a gray scale train breaking through the left side of the sepia image to depict the arrival of the train in Krum, something Warren said put the community “on the map.”

According to the Krum Heritage Museum website, Krum was founded and created by the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway in 1886 and named for railroad official Charles K. Krum. The museum’s website notes Krum in 1900 as being the “world’s greatest inland wheat market.”

“I thought how exciting it would be if we combined those ideas,” Wollaston said. “It’s as if you have these old photographs and the train busting through that, so it’s kind of exciting.

“I hope that [residents] get a sense of what made their town, get a sense of their history, what made them. I hope they’re proud of what they’ve created.”

To come to finishing the project is exciting for Wollaston, she said.

“It’s exciting to get to this point,” she said. “When you see what’s in your head actually realized on a canvas, it’s really neat.”

The mural sits approximately 100 feet west of the railroad crossing that intersects with McCart Street. Red lights blink, handles come down and bells ring announcing the trains arrival. As the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. train enters the crossing the train whistle echoes through the air and ground beneath sounds as if it’s rumbling. It doesn’t seem to bother Wollaston though, who with earphones in her ears, bobs her head to music and gently makes slow, deliberate paint strokes along the mural’s train image. The train comes through town so often, she said she sometimes stops to wave just as a young child would.

“It’s so delightful that the train is right here,” Wollaston said. “It’s amazing you hear the train four, five, six times in an afternoon and even a passenger train comes. It’s a lot of fun.”

Wollaston is responsible for several murals across the North Texas region. Her latest works were done in Lindsay and Gainesville. She said she’s participated in all the murals done in Pilot Point, including her work on the controversial mural Eve.

The progression of the mural has been a conversation starter for several in Krum.

Wollaston said as she’s worked, people have often honked, waved, stopped to discuss the mural, take pictures or simply just offer encouragement about the work she was doing.

“It has been so much fun being out there,” she said. “It has been a terrific thing for me to work on. There’s an excitement there that has really buoyed me along. It’s a wonderful energy and fusion.”

Warren said the mural is something her grandsons, ages 10 and 8, would ask about as she transported them to school.

“Even the young children have become prideful of it,” she said. “Seventy feet long, it’s kind of hard not to notice.”

Wollaston said when doing something so public, it sparks conversation.

“What’s nice about this is that you get that connectivity with the crowd,” she said. “It’s nice to be connected with the people that you’re doing this for.

“That’s fun. It makes all the difference.”

A father and his son who stopped in Krum for a bite to eat on their way home to Saginaw paused to ask about the mural Thursday.

Also stopping by was 7-year-old Tyler Buck, a boy in Krum on spring break from Central Texas with an interest in art. A member with Krum Bright and Beautiful said Tyler wanted to meet Wallaston. Within minutes of meeting Wollaston and hearing how she created the mural, Tyler picked up a paintbrush and began filling in spaces on the mural.

“Good job, kiddo,” said Wollaston as he worked.

Warren said if someone views the mural and smiles, then Krum Bright and Beautiful has accomplished something.

“We hope it reminds people of the history of Krum,” she said. “We hope that they just see it as an interesting mural that beautifies the town.”

BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.


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