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Painting the Town Red: An Interview with Muralist Kimberly Brown

You may have noticed the past few years murals have been popping up all over downtown, a dedicated effort by the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to beautify Beaumont. The benefits are twofold: offer a creative outlet and commissions to some the city’s best artists, while providing a fresh coat of paint and facelift to the older buildings around town. Since people are drawn to visually interesting spaces, it’s a win-win for the community. The more people that photograph and share their work, the more widespread our collective reach, which attracts new eyes and even more visitors to the area.

We caught up with Kimberly Brown, one of the artists involved in the project to discuss her take on art and the future.

Which murals in town are yours?

I painted the Frida Kahlo mural downtown on Fannin, the pig stand mural on the corner of Calder and MLK, the Beaumont triangle mural on Broussards Event Center, the “be kind” mural on Phelan, a “be kind” electrical box, the Cattail Marsh mural at the entrance to Tyrrell Park, a Phelan West mural on Phelan near Berry, and a bunch on Port Neches Avenue.

Do you have a favorite piece of art in Beaumont other than your own?

I love anything Inez Avildres does!

Are you from Southeast Texas or how did you end up here?

I was born in Port Arthur and have lived in Beaumont and Sour Lake all my life, minus short stints in Alabama, Montana, and New Braunfels.

What's your art education?

I started art classes in high school, became an apprentice at the art studio in downtown Beaumont in 1989-ish, and have just dabbled in some form all my life.

How much direction are you given for your murals vs. creative freedom?

The design is always pre-approved before painting, but for the most part they give me some direction and we go from there. Frida was all my own, the Pig Stand obviously was a depiction of the actual restaurant.

Do you see yourself here for a while?

Family has kept me here for the most part, but when my youngest graduates in two years I want to travel, paint and sell my art with no real home base.

Do you teach classes or work with the community in any way?

I've tried doing a few private lessons, but I don't know why or how I do what I do so I'm not a very good teacher, it just comes to me. Well, we’re glad it does :)


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