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Whether you’re looking for some cool Texas artwork or want to find the perfect background for an Instagram photo, the Deep Ellum neighborhood in Dallas is the place to go!
To a visitor, Deep Ellum might just look like a gentrified Austin wannabe, but when you dive into the neighborhood’s rich history, you’ll see it clearly stands on its own. This neighborhood has cultivated creativity since the late 1800s, when it was known for jazz music and visual arts. As one of Dallas’ first commercial districts for African-Americans and European immigrants, it was also one of Dallas’ first desegregated communities.
Deep Ellum is still known for its nightlife, but it has also become a daytime attraction because of the abundance of murals on the sides of bars, restaurants and music venues.
Here are five of my favorite murals in Deep Ellum.
Blues Alley is a collaborative mural that brings Deep Ellum’s rich musical history to life as a new addition to the neighborhood’s collection murals. In fact, it is still being painted! This monochromatic mural is a tribute to blues musicians born in Dallas and those who contributed to the city’s blues music scene.
When I went to check out Blues Alley, I caught local muralist Alfredo Pena (known as 1AmTheWalrus) spray painting Fort Worth born singer Leon Bridges on his section of the alley. Pena already painted rock legend Jimi Hendrix and Dallas native T-Bone Walker. Walker was a pioneer in jazz music as one of the first electric guitar players and the first to make the wailing guitar sound that admirers such as Hendrix later made famous.
Pena told me that the music notes running along the bottom of the mural are an actual song called “Deep Elm Blues.” If you noticed that Elm was spelled differently- that wasn’t a typo! The neighborhood was originally named “Deep Elm” because it was centered around the eastern part of Elm Street. However, the locals pronounced Elm like ell-um (which you can hear in the song), and the name stuck.
Blues Alley is located on Clover Street, between Henry Street and Malcolm X Boulevard. It is scheduled to be completed in July.
Dallas’ Tribute to Posty – Michael McPheeters.
This 80’s glam rock-themed mural pays tribute to Post Malone, who is among the most famous musicians to come out of the Dallas area. Behind Malone, you can see the Dallas skyline and a skeleton of the iconic Dallas Pegasus.
This neon head-turner is located at the shopping center on the corner of Columbia Avenue and Main Street in East Dallas. And if you’re looking for a place to eat, local burger joint, Harvey B’s, is about two steps to the left of this mural!
BIG Things Happen in Dallas – Unknown
This mural features some of Dallas’ most iconic landmarks- from the iconic neon red Pegasus to the weird giant eyeball sculpture (another great tourist attraction for art lovers.) It’s also a great photo-op that is a part of Dallas’ “BIG Things Happen Here” campaign created by Jevin Snyder as a new take on Dallas’ nickname, Big D. The letters “B” and “G” are painted in the bottom right corner of the mural with space for visitors to be the “I.” This mural is located at 2901 Commerce Street.
Deep Ellumphants – Adrian Torres.
This mural was one of the six winners of the “42 murals” contest hosted by 42 Real Estate. The contest called 42 muralists to create new art in Deep Ellum, and this larger-than-life-sized elephant mural was a fan favorite on the company’s social media. It’s also worth noting that this mural is painted on an abandoned building, so you won’t have to worry about any cars blocking your view. “Deep Ellumphants” is located at 3601 Main Street.
I Love You! – Unknown.
This mural is fittingly located in the heart of Deep Ellum. The artist and origin of this mural is unknown, but it is probably one of the most popular photo-ops in Deep Ellum! While you’re stopped, you can get some gumbo or other southern-style food at Bucky Moonshines, where the mural is painted- that will surely make you fall in love with Deep Ellum.
Featured Image by Rachael Gerron.