Bare walls on the outside of a downtown Richardson building have recently been revitalized with colorful murals featuring uplifting messages.

The artwork is the result of a partnership between Created Art Co. artist Rasheal Winters and Laci Coker, founder of the Darling Co., a cooperative between seven vendors in the wedding industry.

Coker had initially looked in Deep Ellum and Uptown for a new space for her business. When those did not work out, she set her sights on East Polk Street in Richardson’s historic downtown.

“If I could just get a place there, then I could start the dream in a little area that could be up-and-coming,” Coker said of her thought process in choosing the location.

Coker liked the building but knew she wanted to breathe new life into its facade. The decision meshed well with the city’s ongoing revitalization efforts, which include new open spaces, artwork and infrastructure updates throughout the historic downtown area.

Together, Coker and Winters came up with four murals showcasing inspirational messages. Altogether the pieces took about 70-80 hours to complete, Winter said.

The first mural features the message, “Darling, you belong here,” which Winters said is a nod to the businesses’ name as well as its new home.

“We really wanted to say something about the Darling Co. ... but also try to draw people to Richardson,” Coker said.

The second mural reads, “You are beautiful, chosen, set apart & loved,” which Coker said represents her Christian beliefs.

The message “Better together” is featured on the third mural. Coker initially intended for the artwork to be a backdrop for photos of engaged couples and families, but the coronavirus pandemic has given the mural new meaning.

“In a way, [the pandemic] kind of brought our passion back ... We really want to bless these brides and share our community and give back,” Coker said.

The final mural says, “You grow, girl,” a message inspired by the businesses’ floral services.

Multicolored bricks are featured in some of the artwork, which Winter said represents the community coming together.

“it's like [saying], ‘Hey, we all come in different colors and shapes and sizes ... but when we all come together, it's something really beautiful,’” she said.

The community also had a hand in creating the artwork. Richardson police officers and passersby helped complete the mural by painting individual bricks, Winter said.

“It really [was] a sense of community and coming together,” Winters said.

Coker said she is heartened by the reaction from the community, and that she hopes the murals will remain a part of downtown Richardson for many years to come.

“I'll go out and see people lined up at the mural taking pictures, and that's super sweet and fun for me,” Coker said.