To call Deep Ellum a historic region east of downtown Dallas would be an underestimation. A more proper name would be the most iconic district in Dallas. Deep Ellum is a quirky and lively district of restored buildings, featuring some of Dallas’ best street arts as well as fantastic apartments, tattoo parlors, specialty shopping, live music venues, bars, and restaurants. Deep Ellum has been the place to explore art and discover music in Dallas since 1873. Murals lie conspicuously on every corner on Deep Ellum, portraying the district’s rich history and love for art. The mural scene at Deep Ellum has gone through various transformations, including the Renaissance of Deep Ellum, the Deep Murals Project of 2009, to the 42 Murals project of 2012.
The Renaissance period featured the Tunnelvisions project of Frank Campagna and Susan Reese, which was one of the first influential art projects in the trendy Deep Ellum. Towards the end of the 1990s, the project was torn down to pave the way for redevelopment. By 2009, murals were mushrooming in Deep Ellum, and a group of artists inspired by the artistic history of Deep Ellum and Frank Campagna and Susan Reese’s work came together and formed the Deep Murals Project of 2009.
This project’s objective was to transform some of the deteriorating, blank building walls into art pieces that reflected Dallas and Deep Ellum’s rich history and culture. The project was originated and supported by the Deep Ellum Community Association and featured mural paintings covering more than 8000 square feet. The artists who took part in the Deep Murals Project of 2009 were from all walks of life, including the 16-year-old daughter of the project’s founder and a sixty-year-old lady who had never painted a mural before.
The 42 Murals is a project that offers an opportunity to international, national, and local artists to exhibit their talent through the use of murals, which are painted on historical buildings in the Deep Ellum region of Dallas. The aim of the project is to make people in Dallas and Deep Ellum more art-conscious by offering free public art for the guests. Originally, the 42 murals project began with many bare walls in Deep Ellum. Some of these walls had been neglected and were disintegrating. Some were dotted with barred windows and recessed doors, while others had chipped paint.