downtown plano arts district city of plano portal project
195 entries blows us away!

The results are….almost in!

The City of Plano artist competition only gave a local artists an estimated two weeks to submit their original artwork for the Downtown Plano Arts District portal project. An astonishing 195 entries were received during that time span!

The portal project is for artists to dress up the seven designated locations on 15th Street between US 75/Central Expressway and G Avenue using complete creativity. Each artist submitted 10–20 images of previous works including the locations, references and a description of each project.

“We knew there would be great interest in the portal project, but we never imagined we would have almost 200 artists come forward,” Michelle Hawkins, Plano’s Administrator of Arts, Heritage and Culture said in a statement. “We are very excited to see what these creative and talented people come up with.”

Submissions of the almost 200 artists will be reviewed by a board made up of area residents, Downtown Plano merchants, arts community representatives, and city staff. Creativity and style play a major part in the evaluation process, also taking into consideration what visually makes the most sense for the Downtown Plano additions. A group of artists will then be asked to give their specific vision for this portal project. Foot traffic on 15th Street and weather are key factors to consider.

The board’s top three artists will be presented to the City Council who will be the final deciding vote. A winner announcement to come.

Good luck to all 195 artists!

Downtown Plano Arts District

From its founding in the 1870s through the mid-20th Century, Downtown Plano was the heart of this small farming community. Plano citizens and surrounding Collin County residents came Downtown to access the cities of Dallas or Sherman by rail, to shop for household goods, and for access to critical services at the local hospital, school, and governmental offices. It has been noted that the reason for Plano’s growth was that it was a major mule exchange for regional farmers.

Arts in Downtown Plano: The arts began emerging in downtown Plano in 2001 with the opening of the Courtyard Theater and not too long after, the Cox Playhouse opened as well. In 2006, the Douglass Community Mural was completed and dedicated. Other cultural assets in the area include the Interurban Railway Museum, the Grand Stand and the Through the Park sculpture in Haggard Park.

During the last 15 years, more than ten restaurants have opened in the beautiful historic stores providing food, beverages and entertainment. Several galleries are in downtown and artist studios are located in adjacent neighborhoods with more expected in the next few years. In 2015, the area was recognized as one of the Great Neighborhoods in America by the American Planning Association and City Council approved the area pursuing the arts district designation. In 2016, we look forward to adding McCall Plaza, an outdoor concert venue, and the Saigling House, a renovated historic home that will be managed by the Art Centre of Plano as an additional event space.

Colbea Smith

Colbea Smith is a young professional who grew up in Plano and loves the community she will always consider “home”. She is a proud alumna of Texas State University – Go Bobcats! – who spent most...