As if there weren’t already amenities aplenty at The Truman Arlington Commons luxury apartment complex, project developers decided to include a stunning, massive mural to enhance the look of the least attractive portion of the project. Now people are even talking about how special the parking garage is.
Located at 505 E. Lamar Boulevard, The Truman Arlington Commons feature expansive floor plans, luxurious kitchens, LED lighting fixtures, a state-of-the-art swimming pool, e-gaming room, fitness center, and a coffee shop with a co-working space on-site. Thanks to the stellar artistry of Arlington native Christopher Gonzales, where people park is also where a lot of people gaze in appreciation.
Jake McGlaun, assistant project manager for the Nehemiah Company, which developed The Truman Arlington Commons, says the mural was the product of an interesting evolutionary process that served to define what corporate partnerships are all about.
We originally planned a screening system consisting of painted protruding fins coming off the side of the parking garage,” McGlaun says. “The thought was always to screen the backside of the garage facing the adjacent Jones Academy and the neighborhood.”
After the fin screening was designed and the contract was out, project architect JHP Architecture/Urban Design suggested a giant treescape mural might be a better way to decorate the garage. When Nehemiah approached the Arlington ISD to approve the fin screening system, the alternate idea of a mural was also presented. AISD Superintendent Dr. Marcello Cavazos loved the idea, and Nehemiah decided to proceed with the mural, which, in addition to enhancing the aesthetics of the project, enabled the developers to partner with the Jones Academy and AISD Visual Arts Coordinator Linh Nguyen by allowing students to do an art project on a small portion of the garage mural each year.
Enter Gonzales, a Bowie High School graduate whose talents have been tapped by the likes of Warner Brothers, DreamWorks, Marriott International (and more), and “Wilderness” was born.
I chose this name because I wanted to capture the unknown possibilities that wait beyond the trees,” Gonzales says. “It’s like a wild field that hasn’t been touched around a growing city/community with endless possibilities. Even though wilderness can mean uninhabited or abandoned area, ironically, this area has new life, and I wanted to express that for those who live there, nearby, or for those who go to school right next door.”
Just as Nehemiah Company officials were intent on forging a relationship with AISD and Jones Academy, the project featured another valuable partnership, between Gonzales and KWA construction to coordinate the project. The artist did such a stellar job on the mural and was so easy to work with that he was asked to do another inside the building. He says he was simply “paying back” the community in which he was raised.
It’s always been a dream to have an art piece in my hometown and to top it all off an opportunity to share my art and collaborate with kids in some capacity,” he says. “This mural is not only for myself but for the community where I grew up, the students next door, and the people living at The Truman. As someone said recently on my Facebook page, ‘the home town boy gets it done.’”