Swing into Spring 2023
The annual WVACA Member’s reception was held at the incredible Vintage Oaks Farm in Driftwood. Music phenom Sam Downing provided the music, as the WVACA Board and members celebrated events of the past, and looked forward to exciting new initiatives on the horizon
Alexis Pointe Mural Project
In an accord of cooperation and talent, the “View of Wimberley” mural at Alexis Pointe grew from a suggestion proposed during a Happy Hour gathering into a gratifying example of “it takes a village.”
Unveiled April 4, the mural represented the efforts of project manager Katy Starr, artist Chuck Cordes, Ace Hardware’s Sam Acker, Don Minnick and Carl Rabenaldt of the Wimberley Valley Arts and Cultural Alliance, community volunteers and Alexis Pointe residents. They were joined by the generosity of Ewing Landscaping, Daniel’s Welding and Landscaping and Earthtones Landscape company. Along the way they received support from the city of Wimberley and the Wimberley Chamber of Commerce, and in the end, they seemed to receive the approval of the community as a whole.
“It’s a magical story,” said Starr, who is also the community relations director at Alexis Pointe Senior Living. “During Happy Hour in September 2022, we asked residents what we could do to make the view from their windows more pleasing. Petesie Lee, a longtime resident, suggested a Hill Country mural.”
The idea gained immediate traction. Initial plans for a mural at a local business fell through, but Starr approached Alexis Pointe’s parent company, Civitas, with the idea to paint the water collection tank on the property. Owners Wayne and Misty Powell said they liked the idea and gave the project a green light.
Adapting a plan created by Vision Lampasas, of which Starr had a connection through her father, artist Bobby Starr, the project moved forward. In rapid progression, the city of Wimberley gave their blessing, and Ace Hardware became a sponsor, donating paints and tools. From there, Minnick offered to help with fundraising, and Rabenaldt organized a call for artists so that a design could be pursued.
Nine submissions followed and one, by local artist Chuck Cordes, won by a landslide vote among residents.
“This was especially charmed,” Starr explained. “It turns out that Chuck’s father, Bill, a WWII veteran and recipient of the Bronze Star, was a resident here at Alexis Pointe. He celebrated his 100-year birthday with us. Chuck and his wife were frequent visitors, so we knew him.”
An artist from Fischer, Cordes is an avid outdoorsman and nature enthusiast with a special affinity for Native American customs and culture. He has had a long career as a commercial artist and as a fine artist conversant in a number of mediums. He also has a history of working with contractors and knew how to work with a galvanized structure.
At six and a half feet tall and measuring 119 lineal feet, the tank’s physical dimensions required the artist to plan four individual panels composed of two tiers that would accommodate its concave shape. The initial design included painting the tower’s roof, but its shallow pitch did not lend itself to it.
“Plus, we considered the drawbacks of having our volunteers climb scaffolding and decided against it,” Cordes added.
To transfer the design to the tank, Cordes drew the images on cellophane and projected them using an overhead projector. He retained control over the main components but invited the volunteers to paint elements between them. A portrait of “Rivers” — a dog belonging to one of the residents, for example — is hidden somewhere in the mural.
Seven months, 29 weeks and thousands of hours later, the mural came together, despite the challenges of hot and cold weather, the condensation from water stored in the tank and the physical contortions the volunteers assumed to paint the corrugated surface.
“Sam Acker at Ace proved to be an invaluable resource,” Cordes said. “He advised me on which paints to use that would stand up to the weather and other issues we faced.”
“Ace Hardware is the epitome of how a business should be run,” Starr added. “Sam was there for us every step of the way. He was invaluable.”
Volunteers included residents and community volunteers. Tanya Davison was the mural’s number one volunteer, giving hundreds of hours to the project. Others included a three-yearold child and Starr’s family — her 92-yearold grandmother who came from Chicago, her father and cousin.
“My father would come out sometimes and watch me paint,” Cordes said. “He managed grocery stores in Bay City and was known for his painted designs on the stores’ windows. I think art was in his blood. I have many heartfelt memories as a child of people wondering what Bill had painted for Christmas or Thanksgiving.”
Cordes dedicated the mural to his father saying, “I hope the mural provides solace to anyone who wishes to enjoy it.”
In one more surprise, Mayor Gina Fulkerson declared April 4, “Chuck Cordes Day.”
Becca Hancock, executive director of the Wimberley Valley Chamber of Commerce was on hand to dedicate the mural in a ribbon cutting ceremony.
“The mural includes so many beloved Wimberley icons,” she said. “We’re excited to have it as part of our community to enjoy for years to come.”
“We are very thankful for everyone’s contribution, especially Chuck’s. He went far beyond what was required of him as an artist, and the result is far greater than just a mural,” Starr said. “We showed that residents can do great things despite their age, and we found a way to bring the community to Alexis. We hope people will seek out the mural and enjoy the collaboration that made it a reality.”