A project to cover McKinney's 100-foot historic grain silos with a community-inspired mural is nearly complete.

The ribbon cutting event for the McKinney silos mural project was held at 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 31.

The event included live music and refreshments, along with remarks from McKinney Mayor George Fuller and City Manager Paul Grimes. Fuller said the work will support the “strong community identity” of McKinney.

“In a world where places tend to start looking like each other, places with strong public art expressions give communities a stronger sense of identity and celebrate the qualities that make one place different from another,” Fuller said.

Representatives of the project’s sponsors, Robert Shaw of Columbus Realty and Matt LoBello of H-E-B, also spoke. Mike Buchanan, owner of McKinney Hat Company, gifted the Australian artist completing the project, Guido van Helten, a custom hat as a “little piece of Texas,” Buchanan said.

The mural should be completed sometime in the next week, due to weather-related delays van Helten said. A title for the piece had not been finalized, as van Helten said he prefers to wait for a “reflective moment” once the piece is finished to make that decision.

“Sometimes I don't even give them titles because I feel like the place is an identifier enough for that project,” van Helten said.

The mural is painted on the 100-foot-tall concrete silos and grain elevator on Louisiana Street across from SH 5 on the McKinney Mill building. The project began earlier this year when van Helten took more than 5,000 photos, interacted with residents in the historic neighborhoods surrounding the silos and visited local businesses, according to the city website. The artist said he used that time to immerse himself in the city and guide his vision for the mural.

“It's so loud and so big that I really want to earn [the] trust of people locally before I just go and dive in there [and] start painting,” van Helten said.

The silo mural is one element of the revitalization taking place east of SH 5. The project will serve as the backdrop for the city’s new Municipal Community Complex, which will break ground in October, according to Grimes.

“This is a really meaningful piece of public art that's going to set the tone for redevelopment in an area that has a lot of cultural and historic significance,” Assistant City Manager Kim Flom said.

Public art initiatives, including various murals in downtown McKinney, resulted in the area receiving a cultural district designation from the Texas Commission on the Arts in 2018, according to Fuller.

“We hope that [the silo mural] spurs on multiple future ... large-scale art projects throughout downtown, and we're excited to see this as the beginning of larger investment in public art,” Andrew Jones, interim director of McKinney Main Street and the McKinney Performing Arts Center, said.