Issue: Local artists are giving back to the community.
Local impact: The large murals to be painted by the Mid-West Texas Artists Guild will adorn the windows of vacant buildings and beautify downtown Ballinger.

When artist Tom Orsak gets going on a project, he just can’t stop. Orsak and other members of the Mid-West Texas Artist Guild are busily painting two large murals, that once complete, will adorn the windows of the vacant building at 108 9th Street.

The project is completely financed by First National Bank of Ballinger and the murals will fill the windows of the vacant buildings owned by the bank.

Last week, Orsak, of Harriet, near San Angelo, made a lot of progress getting the backgrounds done on both the first mural and the second mural.

The Heritage panels will include the Cross and church steeples, agriculture, cotton, wheat and oil while the History and Hospitality panel will include images of the courthouse, the Carnegie Library, the Texas Theatre and the Texas Grill.

The murals, which will be 6 feet by 8 feet in size, are to be painted on sign board with acrylic paint. The murals will be exposed to the elements so a special sealant will be applied to them as well.

This type of painting comes naturally to Orsak, who is an award winning artist. Prior to becoming a full time artist, Orsak was a mural painter of sorts, he painted outdoor advertising for a living for many years. In fact, he worked for Lamar Outdoor Advertising for many years and won many awards for his work.

“I painted all across the U.S.,” Orsak said.

He said when computers came in to play in the late 80s and early 90s, business dried up for him, literally. But he continued to work, painting custom murals in homes and for municipalities. And for the past 10 years or so, he has become a professional artist and sells his work all across the country, including many works that have been inspired by places in Ballinger and Runnels County.

But he is exceptionally proud of the murals he is helping paint at the studio.

“I’m very excited about it,” Orsak said.

Once these two panels are complete, in a month or so, he and other Guild members will get to work on designing additional panels.

All of the Guild members have had input in what will be featured on the mural panels. They even got the students in Art Camp to contribute, by putting bearcat claw prints on the murals.

“It is going to be busy but we want to make it as much of a representation of Runnels County as we can,” Orsak said.

Members have been working on the project on Wednesdays, each week.

The Do-Art Studio is home to artwork from many local artists and can be viewed at the studio. The Guild members meet the first Tuesday of each month at 4:30 p.m. at the studio.