“This doesn’t feel like Amarillo.” 

Multiple versions of that statement—at once an acknowledgment of where we’ve been and a nod toward our future—filled a downtown block of Polk Street during the Hoodoo Mural Festival on Oct. 2. The culmination of nearly two weeks of mural painting, the festival itself attracted hundreds to an afternoon and evening of concerts, games, food trucks, a silent disco, and a fiery signing of muralist Drew Merritt’s stunning spray-paint piece across from the Amarillo National Bank parking garage.

Other prominent local and national muralists graced the city’s brick canvasses leading up to the event. Amarillo native Natalie Fletcher—a past winner of the TV show Skin Wars—completed an incredible trompe l’oeil mural of the Santa Fe building on SE Ninth Avenue. The internationally known DAAS covered an enormous wall near Palace Coffee with twin foxes and pastel geometric shapes. Miami’s Ivan Roque celebrated the Texas horned lizard on a wall next to Napoli’s, and the now-legendary Blank Spaces Crew thrilled Barfield guests with a mural combining realistic bison with art-deco ornamentation next to the new hotel.

The festival day itself brought a series of performances from a stage spanning Polk Street. Local favorite Vamping reassembled for a high-energy concert, followed by DJ sets by Rupert the Duke, Corbin Cary, and multi-platinum producer Kaelin Ellis. Indie-soul band Nané—fronted by Amarillo’s own Daniel Sahad—lit up the crowd with a burst of energy as the sun dipped below the horizon. The festival concluded with a chill, dreamy performance by singer-songwriter Washed Out, punctuated with glow sticks
and dancing.

It was a good day and the best kind of party: one in which, after the music stopped and the crowds dispersed, the city itself was left with a set of high-quality, high-profile works of art—all designed to get attention, spark conversation and foster creativity.

“These are pieces of art. This is like a gallery, a walkable, bikeable art gallery for the public to use,” Hoodoo organizer Andrew Hall explained on the Hey Amarillo podcast the week before the event. 

Mission accomplished.

(Photos by Desmond Inc.)