Dallas/ Arts & Culture
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Published on March 03, 2024
Visually Impaired Artist John Bramblitt to Paint Vibrant Mural for Garland's Bankhead Cultural Arts DistrictSource: City of Garland

Downtown Garland is adding a splash of color to its streets, with local artist John Bramblitt tapped to paint the town's third mural in its burgeoning Bankhead Cultural Arts District. The canvas? None other than the wall of a City parking lot at the intersection of State and Seventh streets. This isn't just any wall, though – it's part of the headquarters for Visual Aid Volunteers, a group that's been dishing out Braille materials since the swinging '60s, according to the City of Garland.

Bramblitt, who lost his vision in 2001 due to epilepsy and Lyme disease, has a knack for mixing his paints with a special ingredient, giving them a distinctive feel to guide his touch. Sure, he can't see, but that hasn't stopped him from painting up a storm – with his work touring and selling in over 120 nations. The artist himself says, “The blindness and epilepsy are parts of me that are considered disabilities, but they are just some of the characteristics that comprise me as a whole — they no more define me as a person or artist as does any other single characteristic such as my height or weight,” as stated on his website.

Bramblitt's upcoming mural promises to be in tune with Garland's artistic vibrancy, portraying dancers and musicians in his signature style – think bright pops of color and dynamism that feels, well, pop art-esque. He was the pick of the litter, despite stiff competition from a whopping 71 artists from all over Texas, with just seven making it to the final round. The selection panel, a mix of city officials and local stakeholders, decided Bramblitt was the man for the job.

With no time to waste, Bramblitt will be getting down to business on this mural right quick, aiming to have it ready for Garland’s Big Art Day on April 6. The city's streets already boast pieces by talents like Julie Chi and Mila Sketch, and now Bramblitt will leave his indelible mark on the community. His message through art is loud and clear: obstacles like blindness are no barrier to creating something beautiful, something he's proven time and again, even bagging three Presidential Service Awards for his efforts.