MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Keep McAllen Beautiful hired a local artist to paint the city’s first 30-foot-tall pipe as part of its city beautification initiative.

Cheryll Anderson said her inspiration for the 30-foot-tall 10-foot-wide pipe was the flora and fauna of the Rio Grande Valley mixed with the Mexican history of Mesoamerica and totem poles.

“They look kind of rustic and like something that means something more in the world,” Anderson said.

She also incorporated butterflies in her mural to signify strength and the migratory route for monarchs.

Photos: Cheryll Anderson

“I’m always daydreaming about what I would paint on them,” Anderson said while explaining that this is the sixth pipe that she paints for the city of McAllen.

The initiative began in 2015 when city officials decided to hire local artists to beautify irrigation pipes throughout the city.

It began with mosaics but the tilework quickly became too expensive to keep up with. From there the city began to hire painters to create mural-sized artwork on these pipes.

For this project, Anderson said she had to hire scaffolders to help her reach all the parts of her painting. She said her approach to taking on such a large project is mapping the painting out on a grid.

Anderson said the painting took three weeks from start to finish, beginning in late February and finishing in March.

Photos: Cheryll Anderson
Photos: Cheryll Anderson

So far, the city has beautified 85 of the 200 pipes in the city. Chris Lash, program manager for Keep McAllen Beautiful said the aim of the initiative is to beautify the pipes with the highest visibility.

“It’s a work in progress for sure,” Lash said.

All 85 pipes have been painted or mosaicked by local Rio Grande Valley artists with the exception of one artist from San Antonio.

The nonprofit organization also aims to help local artists get exposure by adding their handles to the pipes.

“We are so proud that we have such awesome talent here in the Valley,” Lash said.

On the website, you can get a 360 view of all the pipes.