By Conrad Dudderar
Onlookers have been amazed at the Yukon Sunset mural, and the artist who created it is pleased with the public’s response.
A beautification project of Yukon 66 Main Street, the large mural was painted this summer on the east side of a City of Yukon building at 528 W Main that houses the Yukon Main Street office.
The public artwork has attracted visitors downtown. With its vibrant colors, the Route 66 artwork has become a tourist attraction.
Enid artist Tox Murillo signed first-edition canvas prints and regular prints depicting the colorful mural during a reception Aug. 18 in the parking lot next to Yukon City Hall.
The event featured a Yukon Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting.
“I feel really proud,” Murillo said. “This was one of my biggest projects and I’m really happy about it. The results were more than I was expecting.
“Thank you to Yukon for all the support. You guys made me feel really, really special.”
Yukon Main Street’s design committee selected Murillo to paint the mural after reviewing proposals submitted by 16 artists.
The Yukon Sunset mural depicts a beautiful Yukon sunset and features a prominent image of the state bird – the scissor-tailed flycatcher – and other elements of Oklahoma and Route 66.
Murillo began work in mid-June and finished in early July.
“It took me a little more than two weeks,” he said. “I was able to get it done really fast.”
At 21 feet high, Yukon Sunset is the tallest mural Murillo has even painted. He stood on scaffolding while working on his Route 66 masterpiece, which spans 50 feet wide.
“People stopped by while I was working on it to tell me that they liked the job,” he said.
“People in Yukon feel really excited about this project and feel this is really special for Yukon.”
Murillo has painted an even larger mural, one that was just 14 feet high but about 100 feet long.
He enjoyed working with Yukon Main Street representatives on his Yukon Sunset.
“They just let me ‘do my thing’,” Murillo said. “It was easy to work with them.”
‘APPRECIATE YOUR VISION’
Yukon Main Street Director Vicki Davis, Board President Judy Austin, and past and present board members and volunteers attended the Aug. 18th Yukon Sunset mural dedication.
“We are thrilled, and we appreciate your vision,” Davis told the Yukon Sunset mural artist.
The beautification project was a partnership between the Yukon 66 Main Street Association and the City of Yukon, according to Davis.
“This is a City building, and they presented us with the opportunity to do a mural and facilitate the design and artist selection,” she said.
City of Yukon leadership was represented by Yukon City Manager Tammy Kretchmar, Assistant City Manager Mitchell Hort and Assistant to the City Manager Jason Beal.
“We’re very appreciative of this mural,” Kretchmar told the audience gathered in the parking lot west of Yukon City Hall. “It’s an absolutely beautiful piece of art and it adds so much to downtown along Main Street.”
It was a year-long process to collect $15,000 through grants, fund-raisers and donations to fund the Sunset Mural project.
“There were no taxpayer dollars put into this,” Kretchmar noted.
Yukon Mayor Shelli Selby is a Main Street board member and chair of the Design committee. She and past Design Point chair Stephanie Hale were recognized for their efforts.
“Stephanie is who made this possible,” Selby said. “We’re so appreciative. … It couldn’t have been done without Stephanie.”
Yukon Chamber of Commerce CEO Pam Shelton also is a Yukon 66 Main Street board member.
Oklahoma Main Street Center Director Buffy Hughes, Keep Oklahoma Beautiful Executive Director Jeanette Nance and other KOB representatives were among visiting dignitaries who attended the Yukon Sunset mural ribbon cutting and artist reception.
A KOB roadside grant helped make the mural project possible.
To order a Yukon Sunset print or T-shirt, call the Yukon Main Street office at (405) 350-5999 or visit http://www.yukon66mainstreet.com. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.