RGV artist adds color to the city of McAllen


MCALLEN, Texas (KVEO) – If you drive in the city of McAllen you may notice some artwork on city pipes. It is a collaboration between the non-profit organization Keep McAllen Beautiful and local artists.

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Annel Lilly is one of the local artists who was recently chosen to make Nopales Del Rio Grande come to life at the intersection of Bicentennial and Uvalde.

“I always wanted to do it,” she said.

Annel Lilly

Lilly said she has a passion for photography and recently started painting two years ago.

She said painting on a city pipe was a first and a challenge.

“It’s not photo-realistic so I did it freehand, I think it was four sessions because of the weather too,” she said.

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So far Lilly has received tremendous support from the community.

“A lot of people stop by and honk and say thumbs up, thank you for what you are doing, I think it makes people happy to see happy colors,” she said.


According to Lilly she chose to paint cactuses because she finds them beautiful.

The colors implemented in her artwork are meant to reflect the Mexican heritage with a purposeful message.

“I want people to get that little joy of seeing something colorful in the street and also to reflect like it’s a simple plant full of thorns but it has so much to give,” she said. 

Lilly expressed her family and friends have been supportive from the start.

However she would like to remind those who do not have the same support to never stop believing.

“I had a lot of push from my family and friends but some people don’t have that support but it doesn’t mean you can’t go farther, you push yourself up and keep going,” she said.

According to Lilly, this is just the beginning of having her artwork bring color to the Rio Grande Valley.

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