Butterfly art to be installed around downtown McKinney this spring

Hugs Greenhouse is backing a project, featuring two, four-foot wide topiaries shaped like butterflies. (courtesy Hugs Greenhouse)
Hugs Greenhouse is backing a project, featuring two, four-foot wide topiaries shaped like butterflies. (courtesy Hugs Greenhouse)

Hugs Greenhouse is backing a project, featuring two, four-foot wide topiaries shaped like butterflies. (courtesy Hugs Greenhouse)

Visitors will start seeing butterflies in various forms—both real and in art—around downtown McKinney this spring.

In April, Monarch butterflies will start migrating from Mexico toward North America and Canada, where they live during the summer months, according to the city's website. In an effort to bring more people downtown and to educate them on the importance of Monarchs to the ecosystem, the city has two projects underway that will bring butterfly art pieces to McKinney’s cultural district.

One project, called Monarchs of McKinney, features eight oversized, steel Monarch butterfly sculptures. These sculptures will have four-foot wingspans and will be painted by selected local artists. The sculptures will be permanently placed in various locations around The Square.

This is a joint project among the McKinney Arts Commission, McKinney Main Street, the city of McKinney and the Texas Commission on the Arts, which granted $17,500 toward the project, said Jakia Brunell, McKinney Performing Arts Center’s marketing and development specialist.

A second project, backed by Hugs Greenhouse, will also bring butterfly art downtown. Hugs Greenhouse is part of local nonprofit Hugs Cafe, which offers training and employment for adults with special needs.


Greenhouse team members have helped assemble two, butterfly-shaped topiaries, which will also have four-foot wingspans. Topiaries are trees or shrubs clipped into ornamental shapes, but these will feature more than 200 plants seeded into the topiaries, including Lobularia and Vinca, said Hugs Cafe Director of Development Lauren Smith.

“These teammates will also be watering and tending to the blooms while they grow on the butterflies until the reveal,” Smith said in an email.

As they bloom, white, pink, purple and red flowers will emerge, she said.

The topiaries will be place on the corners of Tennessee and Virginia streets and Kentucky and Louisiana streets. A reveal for the topiaries will take place sometime in May, and the sculptures will be revealed at 2 p.m. May 9, according to Brunell.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect new reveal dates.
By Emily Davis
Emily graduated from Sam Houston State University with a degree in multi-platform journalism and a minor in criminal justice in Spring 2018. During her studies, Emily worked as an editor and reporter at The Houstonian, SHSU's local newspaper. Upon graduation, she began an editorial internship at Community Impact Newspaper in DFW, where she was then hired as Community Impact's first McKinney reporter in August 2018.


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