Vacant buildings in Downtown become art displays

Vacant buildings becoming art displays

El Paso, Tx - The phrase "downtown revitalization" has been used quite a bit, city officials have been putting in a lot of work, trying to get downtown to be a destination for many to enjoy.

Now, a new concept has been put before the city council: Using vacant buildings as art displays.

El Pasoans have been spending a lot of time downtown lately,enjoying music, movies, food, or even just going for a bike ride.

But among all of the dowtown life, there's still a lot that looks dead: Vacant buildings with boarded-up doors and broken windows.

"I can almost remember all of these buildings when they were in their hey day,"said Terry Bell.

Though not as lively and new as they once were, Bell still takes their pictures nonetheless.

A real estate company is trying to change that, through art.

"Rather than leaving the building boarded up and vacant while we try to find a new use for the building,"said real estate manager Katie Updike," we thought it would be fun to create a art installation."

That's what they've done to downtown's Mansion building, one of the city's historic buildings, formerly vacant and boarded up.

There appears to be some life again.

The building is splashed with colors and pictures.

"I like the idea, I love street art,"Bell said.

Michael Patino, who helped out with the project,  told ABC-7,"it gives life to building and the community as well."

Patino says, everyone he has encountered likes the idea.

Bell says there could be a drawback.

He fears building's owners might be using the art as a concealer, covering up the major problems that lie inside. "We've covered up the broken windows and the boarded up windows. We don't have to do anything else,"said Bell.

Updike tells ABC-7 the real estate company just wants to improve downtown any way it can. "We are attempting to help downtown be the most interesting place in the city to work, live and play," said Updike.

The building's owners would have to foot the bill for the artwork.

Updike tells me the company has taken the idea to the city council and they love the idea.

She's now working to move the concept forward.

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