Houston Grads Paint Commemorative Mural in Minute Maid Park
When the Houston Astros threw out the first home pitch of the 2022 season, a brand new mural was behind center field on the walls of Minute Maid Park. The mural’s artists included two alumni from The Art Institute of Houston—and the theme behind the artwork celebrated 60 years of the popular Houston sports team.
Graduates Rachel Toalson, who earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic & Web Design in 2021 and Kelsea Tanaka, who earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Art & Design in 2022 worked alongside local artist Jesse DeLeon on the project—which debuted at the Astros’ annual FanFest event.
DeLeon was first asked to create the mural in 2021 after the Astros won the divisional title, according to ABC 13 TV news. The team envisioned that the mural would be a great backdrop for photo ops—and is the fourth mural to be contracted for the ballpark.
In an interview with ABC 13, DeLeon says he was immediately interested in the project because it allowed him to mentor and work with students.
"[It was] quite the first project," Toalson mentioned in the TV interview. "I loved every minute of it. It just didn't seem real." Together with DeLeon and Tanaka, Toalson talked with the Astros about ideas for the mural, which included key moments from past 60 years of Astros’ baseball.
According to ABC 13, the mural includes the Colt 45s emblem featuring the Astros’ original name, imagery of the original playing field at the Astrodome, and artwork of the ring and trophy from the team’s championship era. It was a huge undertaking "just being able to pick and choose [and know] the fans would be like, 'Oh my gosh, I remember that,'" said Tanaka during the TV news spot.
The 25x17 mural took four and a half days to complete—or just about 60 hours.
Tanaka summed up the experience with reverence to the legacy of the team—as well as enthusiasm for her participation in this monumental project. "This isn't just any wall,” she told ABC 13. “This is the Astros. This is the 60th anniversary. It's huge.”
Watch the ABC 13 news coverage of the mural here.
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