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Tunnels connecting Abilene’s Cultural District and SoDA District are lit

After three years of preparation, the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council has officially finished pedestrian tunnels that connect the Abilene Cultural District to the SoDA district.

The three tunnels, located on both sides of Pine Street by Everman park, and behind the T&P Depot on North first, are equipped with lighting and security cameras that were funded in part by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts. The Abilene Cultural Affairs Council is hoping these tunnels will provide safety and walkability while also promoting economic growth through art.

The council commissioned international artist, Kurt Wenner, to create a 3D mural inside the T&P Depot tunnel. Pam Tippen, Abilene Cultural Affairs Council board member, says Wenner has developed a way to do the elaborate murals digitally rather than with a medium like chalk. She explained that his digital murals can be transferred onto fabric in sections, which can then be put on the ground, “What’s really cool about this is that if we have a problem with this and maybe something gets damaged some way or another we can take that section off, reprint it and put that section back down.”

The storybook mural of a soaring dragon is designed to immerse the viewer. People walking through the tunnel can stand on the dragon’s back or on the castle’s tower to look like they are a part of the story.

The ACAC will partner with the city to keep the tunnels lit.