San Angelo, TX — Joy Thomas and Julie Raymond were excited as they walked around the hollowed-out structure at 125 W. Twohig St. They nodded as they pointed at the exposed brick walls and rusted rafters overhead, remainders of what was once a bowling alley.
“The structure was built in 1946 and it burned out,” said Thomas, speaking about the building which had once been named Star Lanes, “it’s been an eyesore for many years.”
“The landowners were so happy,” said Raymond, “that they provided this space and were so generous so that we could use it as one of our spots, so it’ll be cool.”
“Yes, yes it will,” added Thomas.
The two women, who head Art in Uncommon Places, had just been making plans for their new project.
“Our new project is called Pop Art Alley,” said Raymond, “And we’re so excited because this is going to be one of our open-air museums that we’re creating that’s free and open twenty-four hours a day. We have all local artists participating. But mainly we have James Gill, who painted with Andy Warhol, and he is going to be providing a piece for the space.”
Pop Art Alley will be located nearly one block away from Paintbrush Alley.
“It’s right down from Paintbrush Alley, which we love,” said Thomas, “When we walk out in the back we can look down and see Paintbrush Alley and see people walking around.”
“You know, Paintbrush Alley has become just a standout project for Downtown,” said Del Velasquez, Executive Director of Downtown San Angelo, “and this is going to blow it out of the water.”
“Part of the revitalization effort is to engage our community,” added Velasquez, “That’s a big part of what we try to accomplish in very project that happens in downtown. Downtown is the heart of San Angelo and we work on that motto every day. Projects like this are just such a great blessing to us.”
Over thirty artists will be given space for artwork within the museum and other businesses have pledged to help with electricity and lighting.
“Principal L.E.D. is going to help provide the lights in here and we are over the moon,” said Raymond.
Pop Art Alley is a collaboration between Art in Uncommon Places and Downtown San Angelo and will be opening at the beginning of November.