Muralist bringing 'wild' impact to downtown park in Brownwood

Steve Nash
Brownwood Bulletin
Calina Mishay is pictured Tuesday at Pat Coursey Park as she applies paint to a mural depicting wild horses running through water.

Professional muralist Calina Mishay believes there is magic in small towns, and she's bringing her own magic to Pat Coursey Park in downtown Brownwood.

The 34-year-old has worked this week to paint a colorful mural depicting wild horses running through water. She hopes to be finished by Friday.

The mural is a budgeted project of the Brownwood Municipal Development District and was first envisioned by Marshal McIntosh, the BMDD’s assistant director, as part of the ongoing downtown revitalization.

Mishay, who is from Rule, describes herself on her Facebook page as “a champion for the revitalization of small towns.”

She has been working full-time as a muralist for the past four or five years and considers the Abilene area as her home. She travels across the state and has a crew that helps her with prep work, but she works alone when she paints.

“I’ve always loved urban street art,” Mishay said.

She got involved in the Brownwood mural after McIntosh and City of Brownwood executive administrator Amanda Coers contacted her.

“Amanda and Marshal reached out to me — Amanda first — and she explained that there was a vision for the downtown revitalization, trying to get a lot of artwork down here, make it have a pulse and seem exciting,” Mishay said.

“It’s what I do for a living. She reached out and the timing was perfect. We came up with this concept rather quickly.”

The mural design “pairs perfectly with the metal horses on the fountain at the park and offers a modern twist on the rural vibe of the area,” an email from Coers’ office states.

Visitors who approach Mishay as she works will receive a friendly greeting, a large smile and plenty of conversation from the muralist, who is accompanied by her European Great Dane, Oso — Spanish for “bear,” Mishay explained.

Mishay once worked with autistic children as a behavioral analyst.

“I just hated the paperwork that came with that — I loved the therapy, hated the paperwork, loved helping people, loved having an impact,” Mishay said.

She had worked on canvases in her spare time, and she decided to follow her passion to become a muralist.

“I was in between jobs and I said ‘you know what, I’m not a city girl, but I could try these street art murals in small towns,'” Mishay said. “I went back home and I did my first one there. It just took off. It just kind of grew into its own business, mainly because I was determined to make it work.”

Mishay admits to being a dreamer and visionary who loves what she does.

“This is the dream, because I still get to help people, I still get to inspire people, get to know them,” Mishay said. “I get to see the jewels of the city and share that with my audience. I want people to realize there is magic in small towns.”  

Mishay arrived in Brownwood with a list of places to visit while she's here.

In Brownwood, people have been “super welcoming,” Mishay said, and she likes the downtown. “They have people that care, and everybody who’s come up here has been the nicest," she said. 

With spring here — which follows a year of pandemic — Mishay said she hopes the mural will inspire people “to run like wild horses. It seemed right to say ‘let’s be bold at this one and do something fun.’”