Liberty Hill dedicates downtown mural


By Rachel Madison

Downtown Liberty Hill just got a lot more colorful with the addition of a mural on the side of Quick Service Garage on Loop 332.

The mural, painted by Austin artist Helena Sue Martin, was commissioned by local Girl Scout Cadette Troop 40101 initially as a project for the Girl Scouts’ annual World Thinking Day, and was dedicated during a ceremony Sunday afternoon.

“Every year, Girl Scouts has something called World Thinking Day,” said Troop 40101 Leader Gina Giachetti. “Our troop was in charge of World Thinking Day [in our area]. You get an agenda and we talked about at the end trying to do a mural, but it was more like doing a mural the entire service unit from Liberty Hill could do. But when we were meeting and talking about it, we also started talking about some of the girls getting their silver award, which is the second highest award in Girl Scouts. We decided they’d do a mural in Liberty Hill so that four of our girls could earn their silver award.”

Troop 40101, which consists of Jillian Hamrick, Hayden Harris, Olivia Fetterly, Julia Fetterly, Cady Shull, Leah Pagach and Isabella Franke, started working on the project in January. The first step was finding an artist who could paint the mural, but Giachetti said that was not an easy task. The first four artists who committed to the project ended up declining for various reasons. While the search for an artist continued, troop members worked on raising funds for the project.

“We started fundraising with businesses and on Facebook asking for help to buy supplies,” Giachetti said. “The girls would pitch to businesses what the mural would look like. They visited murals in Galveston and Round Rock for their inspiration. During this time of pitching to businesses, we also needed to find a wall. We pitched to Kathy Canady [owner of Quick Service Garage] and she immediately said, ‘Yes, I want it on my wall.’ At this point we had the wall to paint it on, a design idea and about $1,000 raised.”

The troop amped up their search for a mural artist by offering to pay $500 to an artist who would take on the project. That’s when the troop found Martin, an Austin-based urban street artist. Martin’s murals, which use rich colors as well as flora, fauna and portraiture, can be seen across the United States as well as internationally. She creates murals for both corporate and non-profit clients and teaches urban art workshops.

“Helena told me that no one would do it for $500,” Giachetti said. “She typically does murals for $3,000 to $5,000. We measured the wall and she said, ‘that’s a huge wall, but I’ll do it for you for $2,500.’ At this point we only had about half of that raised, so the girls voted. They had about $3,000 in their troop account they’d been saving to go on a trip, but they decided they’d be willing to spend their own troop money to get the mural done. Then we’d have to re-do some fundraisers to raise money for a trip.”

After a slew of bad weather in September and October, Martin was finally able to start on the mural. Giachetti said the response from the community once Martin began painting the mural was overwhelming.

“People started seeing it and stopping by, and it blew up on social media and then a lot of sponsors started pouring in,” she said. “Before the dedication ceremony we were only $120 short of having everything covered. By the ceremony, we had people come up to us and want to help pay for the rest. The cost was totally covered by the community. We had to turn people away because we had what we needed.”

It took Martin seven days to complete the mural. She did it like a “coloring book,” Giachetti said, so the girl scouts could paint alongside her throughout the project.

“People were telling the girls what they needed to have on the mural as far as design, so we had to go back and forth quite a bit, but Helena would talk to the girls and let them ultimately decide on the design,” Giachetti added.

The mural’s design showcases different aspects of Liberty Hill itself inside each letter of the city’s name. A different entity sponsored each letter.

The “L” was sponsored by Canady of Quick Service Garage and features a longhorn, because longhorns roam throughout Liberty Hill and the area is also home to Bevo, The University of Texas mascot.

The letter “I” was sponsored by The Liberty Hill Independent and depicts the city’s blue hole and rope swing.

The “B” was sponsored by Blush This Salon and features the bluebonnets that fill Liberty Hill’s fields in the springtime.

The letter “E” was sponsored by Phoenix Electric and shows the Guardian Angel sculpture from Liberty Hill’s International Sculpture Garden.

The “R” was sponsored by the Cade Riley family and was dedicated in remembrance of Cade, who passed away last year and was active in sports, fishing and art.

The letter “T” was sponsored by Texas Concrete and Sherwin Williams. The T depicts Liberty Hill’s water tower with the panther mascot.

The “Y” was sponsored by Pacesetter K9 and depicts some of Liberty Hill’s Veterans’ Memorial Park.

The letter “H” was sponsored by the Liberty Hill 4H Club and Cat Trax Rentals. The H showcases the 4H’s four-leaf clover logo.

The second “I” was sponsored by Simply Home Decor & More, and shows a barrel racer in tribute to Liberty Hill’s annual rodeo.

The second “L” was sponsored by Liberty Hill Pharmacy and highlights Liberty Hill as the home of the Panthers. The number 56 inside the letter is in memory of Levi Jones, who played football for Liberty Hill High School.

The last “L” was sponsored by GNG Cattle Company and Twin Oak Ranch and features one of the Girl Scout insignias.

“Part of earning the Silver Award is to celebrate your accomplishment at the end of your project, so that’s why we decided to do a dedication ceremony,” Giachetti said. “The project is not over though. Now the girls have to fill out four to five hours of paperwork on the project, the budget, how they got it done and what it means for the community. Then they’ll submit it to the council and hopefully sometime around January or February they’ll get their silver awards.”

About 50 people attended the dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony Sunday, including Liberty Hill Mayor Rick Hall. Hall spoke about how the contribution of the mural is a part of downtown Liberty Hill’s revitalization and how it will be a great place for the community to visit for things like senior or family photos.