A new mural on the side of Gloria’s Grill in downtown Abilene doesn’t just have a western connection – it also has a Wylie connection.
The western-themed mural was painted by 2014 Wylie graduate Emily Elliott.
Emily painted the mural on the side of Gloria’s Grill at South 2nd and Chestnut streets. She estimated the wall is about 150 feet long by 28 feet wide.
“It’s the biggest canvas I’ve ever had,” she said. “I had no idea I could paint on a wall. It’s been a lot of fun. It’s gone a lot faster than I thought it would.”
Emily spent about four weeks in late April and early May working on the project as part of Palette of Purpose’s downtown mural program. Stephanie Prosser, who created Palette of Purpose, helped Emily with painting.
Emily graduated from Wylie in 2014 and went off to Tarleton State, where she planned to become a nurse. But after a year, she realized that nursing was not what she wanted to do. She came home and is now attending McMurry.
“I want to be an art teacher,” she said. “I never thought I would want to be a teacher because both of my parents are teachers.”
Emily is the daughter of Michael and Dana Elliott, who both teach at Wylie Junior High.
Emily found information on Facebook one day about Palette of Purpose and got in contact with Stephanie.
“At first I just wanted to volunteer where I could,” she said. “I sent in some of my pieces of art. My style is very western.”
Stephanie, a local artist and business owner, said she created Palette of Purpose about a year ago to get young artists like Emily involved in the community.
“One of our goals as business leaders is to show the younger crowd that you can invest in your community,” she said. “I want to show young artists that you can do something big here. You can get a lot of things accomplished in your hometown, and it is investing back in your community.”
The nonprofits first big project has been the Abilene Art Bomb Mural Project. Last year, the group painted four murals downtown, and Emily’s is the second mural so far this year.
“We’ve been partnering with local business owners,” Stephanie said. “It’s all been through the nonprofit. We’ve got more buildings lined up.”
Stephanie said when she saw Emily’s art, she knew her western-themed work would be perfect for Abilene. She asked Emily to do a mural. Emily provided several possible pieces, and Gloria’s Grill picked one for the wall.
Emily said her love for western art began when someone asked her to paint a cow. She saw how popular the picture was with potential clients.
“A lot of my inspiration started coming from little towns and antique stuff,” she said. “I really developed this passion for Texas themed art.”
Emily sells some of her work at 23 Junk Street, an Abilene consignment store. She also takes requests.
She said she has always liked to try different types of artwork, but painting a mural is definitely unique.
“This has been a crazy experience,” she said. “I’m learning so much. My friends and family have been so supportive. The community has been so supportive. It’s definitely not my last one.”