Public-private partnership creates mural
There’s a little more vim, vigor and vitality in downtown Commerce with the addition of the Dr Pepper mural located at 1123 Main Street. Created through a partnership between the City of Commerce, Dr Pepper Snapple Group and Texas A&M University-Commerce, the artwork was dedicated in an afternoon ceremony on July 25. The mural is the first of three to be painted in the city’s downtown.
More than 200 attendees were welcomed to the dedication by the mayor of Commerce, Dr. John Ballotti, who also serves as a senior lecturer of speech at A&M-Commerce. Dr. Dan R. Jones, president of the university, Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s Sarah Morgan and Colette Young (wife of CEO Larry Young) and Commerce Assistant City Manager Stephen Wilson accompanied Ballotti on stage for the ceremony.
The group—joined by A&M-Commerce leaders Dr. Adolfo Benavides, provost and vice president for academic affairs, and Dr. Salvatore Attardo, dean of the College of Humanities, Social Sciences and Arts, and others—added the final touches to the mural to close the dedication ceremony.
“The city’s proud,” said Wilson. “I think the murals here will spark something to help us revitalize the downtown again.”
The Dr Pepper mural, which was painted by A&M-Commerce art students, has also provided an extra spark for the education of one of its artists. During the ceremony, Morgan announced Suzanne Miller as the winner of a $500 tuition scholarship from Dr Pepper Snapple Group.
“We want to definitely say thank you to the city and everyone involved at the university for allowing us to be a part of this project,” said Morgan, regional sales manager for Dr Pepper Snapple Group. “[The students] did a wonderful, wonderful job, and we couldn’t be happier with how it came out.”
The mural is the product of collaboration between Commerce Tourism and Events Coordinator Sherry Johnson and individuals from the A&M-Commerce Art Department, including Joe Daun, department head; Brian Weaver, art studio technician; Ashley Bryan, adjunct instructor for the summer courses created for this project, the team of hardworking students and Dr Pepper Snapple Group, which provided sponsorship for all of the painting supplies.
Inspired by a vintage advertisement for the company, the mural features a classic bottle of Dr Pepper overflowing with “vim, vigor and vitality,” the slogan the soft drink debuted with at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. Alongside is another of the company’s early slogans, “King of Beverages”—all beneath a lion, which was an early mascot for the brand and has been the mascot for the university since 1919. The A&M-Commerce logo and a modified City of Commerce logo featuring the bois d’arc tree are also prominent in the piece that covers wall space donated by local businessman Kenneth Parker.
Dr Pepper was created by Charles Alderton in Waco, Texas, and landscapes representing the brand appear in several towns in the state. The City of Commerce and Dr Pepper were both established in 1885, making it fitting that this mural is the first to be completed in an effort to revitalize the one-of-a-kind city.
“It’s a great time to come together and celebrate all the wonderful things that make this community such as special place to live and to work,” said Jones. “Great things happen here and will continue to happen.”