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Volunteers start work on Avenue D mural celebrating total solar eclipse


Cove Leader-Press


On Saturday, volunteers started work on a large mural celebrating the upcoming total solar eclipse. 

The mural is located on 202 South 4th St., seen along Avenue D near the Star Group – Veterans Helping Veterans building. 

Volunteers began cleaning up the area and sketching out the drawing early Saturday morning. Painting for the project began around noon the same day. 

The mural painting and cleanup efforts were headed by Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful (KCCB) and The Mission Continues Killeen Platoon as their service project for the annual Martin Luther King Day of Service. 

Crystal Owens, a co-owner of Copperas Cove-based Rainbow Heart Studio, and Perry Draper, owner of the Art & More Store in Killeen, collaborated on coming up with the concept, design, and color palette for the mural.

Owens said that they will be using bold colors with a Native American inspired palette. She said that they used the previous total solar eclipse in the area which happened more than 500 years ago as inspiration. The next one won’t be for hundreds of years—long after everyone who sees this one is gone. She said that she was excited to see how much progress the artists were able to make in just one day.

“I am just floored…I’m so unbelievably grateful that they are trusting us with this project,” said Owens. “It’s so cool seeing your dream come into reality.”

“It’s an awesome feeling,” said Perry Draper about seeing his vision coming together. “As an artist, sometimes you are stuck in a studio working by yourself, but when you do something that is community based—especially with public art—you are able to see your design and those ideas take shape a lot faster. And it gives everyone a sense of accomplishment together.”

Draper said that he loved getting to see so many members of the community coming together. He said that by painting the mural along a highly traveled location, more people will engage in discussions about the art. Draper hopes that it will encourage members of the community to bring even more art to the city.

KCCB invited volunteers to help clear trash along Avenue D, the area directly surrounding the mural, and around 4th Street. 

KCCB Executive Director Roxanne Flores was impressed by the artistic talents of the volunteers, calling it “phenomenal”.

“I think anybody can make a difference beautifying their community whether it’s by picking up trash, or whether it’s by painting a mural. Given that opportunity you can make a difference,” said Flores. “We got an artistic group of volunteers that came up with the design. There’s a sketch, and it’s kinda done like a Paint-by-Numbers so it allows anybody—if you want to get up there and touch a paint brush, you’re able to make a difference. If you’re not that person, then you can pick up the trash and beautify the surrounding area.”

The Mission Continues Killeen Platoon provided the art supplies for the mural.

Platoon Leader Juanita Myers said that they approached the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce in August/September of last year about doing something to commemorate the upcoming eclipse. 

Ultimately, they decided on working together with Copperas Cove groups to create an eclipse-themed mural. She was happy with Saturday’s turnout saying that there is strength in numbers.

“We’re expected to have about 25,000 tourists come this way for this event. This solar eclipse only happens about every 400 years, so the next one that occurs, we won’t be there, obviously,” said Myers. “I thought it was important that we be a part of that—that we be a part of Copperas Cove’s history.”

Myers said that she’s excited to see how much progress has been made on the mural and is looking forward to seeing what it will look like when it’s completed.

“I know what it’s going to look like, but I’m eager to see it finished,” said Myers.

Weather permitting, the volunteers hope to have the mural finished by the end of February. 

They definitely will have the mural completed before the eclipse on April 8.

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