Baytown says “Howdy!”
That’s the message in the latest addition to the city’s growing gallery of public art as Katy artist Tyler Kay paints a mural on the east wall of the historic Del Mont Hotel at the corner of West Defee Street and North Ashbel Street.
The images in the mural will mostly be flowers, but Kay is also including the word “Howdy.”
She said she has only recently begun including text in her murals. “I’ve had several murals that have gone viral on social media and they’re all because of the text,” she said.
Kay has family in Crosby and is familiar with the rodeo there and other rodeos in the area and thought “Howdy” evokes a rodeo and western theme that would attract attention.
“I was looking for more like a word that represented and could encourage interaction. You know Texas is its own country.”
She said her goal is to get people to interact with her murals, and the addition of words seems to do that.
Kay has painted murals around the Houston area and beyond — even in other countries.
Kay is a University of Houston graduate who works professionally painting murals. On her first day of work she was accompanied by her dog, Shasta, who is named for the University of Houston mascot.
Kay’s first artistic connection in Baytown was in early 2020 when she was commissioned to paint a mural live during the Arts & Eats Festival, which ended up being the first major cancellation of city events when the pandemic began.
She later did the live event as a Facebook stream. That painting was auctioned off by the Art League.
For this mural, she was approached through her Art League connections, she said.
The ACE District had received a grant for a mural in the Downtown Arts District.
Yvonne Thomas, president of Historic Baytown’s Arts, Culture and Entertainment Council, said the mural was originally supposed to be at another location, but the wall surface at that location was a concern and the city did not want the grant used in a location unlikely to last long.
Thomas said a location had to be found quickly since, under the terms of the grant, work had to begin by the end of September.
Thomas and her husband, Oscar Chapa, own the Del Mont and had a large blank wall that until recently faced a narrow alley. The demolition of the building next door, though, gave it prime visibility.
The grant was a Neighborhood Empowerment Grant, the same program that recently funded a mural on the wall of the Promise Center at 2609 Market Street.
Kay, the artist, expects the mural to be complete by mid-October, depending on weather.