Keep Brownwood Beautiful received more than a dozen entries for its mural contest, which has a top prize of $500.

Children and adults each submitted their entries to the KBB mural contest, which seeks to commission a mural at the splashpad near East Elementary School using the work of a local artist.

“We’ve been wanting to do it for years and it coincides with what the arts council is doing,” KBB Director Cary Perrin said in August while announcing the contest. 

Keep Brownwood Beautiful is a not-for-profit group that works to maintain Brownwood’s aesthetic qualities, whether maintaining floral displays near Brownwood Glass and Alignment on Main Street, or Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza at the intersection of Main Street and North Commerce. It recently expanded to providing Christmas lights and oversees a recycling program with drop-offs the first and third Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to noon at the Austin Avenue overpass, which has been in place for more than 10 years.

 Perrin said the idea for a mural contest came about after seeing a mural, commissioned by the Brownwood Arts Council, by local artist Amanda Coers. She then contacted the BAC in hopes of spreading publicly available art.

“With the drought, and concern about people watering too much, we wanted to make Brownwood pretty but not in a way that requires keeping plants and watering all of the time,” Perrin said. “We want to be an example to people. There are better things we can do. We’re excited about our mural contest. You can find out more about it on our website, but we’re offering a $500 prize. We were thinking, how can we make Brownwood look bright, shiny, interesting. I had a friend tell me years ago about driving around Brownwood that even the stop signs look sad. We care about our community.”

Outside of its day-to-day activities, the mural contest is KBB’s first major public endeavor since the announcement that the City of Brownwood cut its annual funding by nearly a third – from $17,500 to $12,000. Perrin said instead of pouting and putting aside the great work KBB does, the organization will continue forward with its day-to-day operations making the most of the funds it has.

“Everything that we do with Keep Brownwood Beautiful, we try to keep it pertinent to the city. Everyone wants to make it seem like, ‘Oh those mean city council people,’” Perrin said. “No, they have a hard job. I understand the need for them to make cuts where they need to. That is when we have to step up, pull our socks up a bit higher and think, OK, how can we be a bit more creative?”