Galveston is renowned for its exquisite Victorian, Gothic and Greek Revival buildings and is lauded as being the site of one of the largest, well-preserved and historically significant concentrations of Victorian architecture in the United States.
The island’s natural beauty, combined with its stunning architecture and thriving arts scene, makes Galveston a popular travel destination for art lovers and culture enthusiasts.
The creative works of the island’s painters, sculptors, and mixed-media artists can be found not only in the art galleries and museums on the island, but also on the walls of some of the city’s most visible structures and public parks—the largest being a 5,000-square-foot mural commemorating Juneteenth at 22nd Street and The Strand in the heart of Galveston's downtown district.
The murals make for selfie-worthy backdrops, but they also serve as a reminder of the island’s remarkable history.
“There are so many great local artists that have been a part of the beautiful murals we have in our downtown community: Gabe Prusmack, Justin Lopez, Catherine Stroud, Adam Garrison, Derek Anderson, and Elizabeth Punches, and others,” said artist Becky Major, owner of The Proletariat Gallery and Public House, and director at The National Hotel Artist Lofts at 2221 Market St.
Major and fellow Galveston artist Alee Groce recently completed work on a mural project on the façade of Galveston Bookshop, located at 317 23rd Street between Market and Mechanic in the Historic Downtown Galveston shopping district.
“Alee and I have sat on the bench across the street from the bookshop for years and just imagined how neat it would be to have a mural there. The columns, in our minds, just looked like book spines,” Major said.
She and Groce came up with a proposal, took it to Galveston’s Cultural Arts Commission and reached out to book store owner Dale LeFleur Jr.
“I loved the vision that they had from the very start,” LeFleur said. “We had room for seven titles on the front of the store. I had Alee and Becky come up with a list, and I had my store manager, Rick Beaulieu, summit a list. I also had my own choices. Two of the titles were personal favorites of mind and included from the start: J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ and Larry McMurtry’s ‘Lonesome Dove’ were always on the list.”
The remaining five titles that made the cut include Charles Dickens’s “Great Expectations,” Erik Larson’s “Isaac’s Storm,” Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express,” George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” and Jane Austin’s “Pride and Prejudice.”
Groce said when it came to style, they were inspired by classic leather-bound book spines; deeply rich earthy tones, with timeless gilded accents and lettering.
“Becky and I walked over to the store while drafting our proposal, taking some color inspiration from the existing tiles, as well. The bold blue you see on top was intended to bring out that same shade in the tiles. Overall, we wanted something elegant, cohesive and eye-catching.”
Not only does the mural celebrate great literature, it serves as a “cover” for the bookshop itself, beckoning people to “open the covers of the book,” cross the threshold and see what’s inside.
The shelves of Galveston Bookshop boast new, used and rare books, as well as vinyl records and comics, and the shop itself serves as a backdrop for book signings and author meet-and-greets.
For more information about Galveston Bookshop, call 409.750.8200 or visit www.galvestonbookshop.com.