Painting the town: Czech immigrant beautifying Buda one mural at a time

by Anita Miller

Art is international, and residents of the Buda area are directly benefiting from that fact.

You can’t drive down Main Street and not notice the contributions artist Marcela Kourkova, born in Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic), has made to the city’s beautification.

Czech-born Marcela Kourkova and her husband chose to make Buda their home in 2007, after living in Austin, because they thought it would be a good place to raise a family.

From illustrations of tasty food and drink available at Esther’s Tex Mex at 210 S. Main, Mill & Grain a block away at 306 S. Main or a seasonal chalk mural at The Carrington at 300 S. Main. Behind it all is Kourkova, who came to this country 35 years ago and to Buda in 2007.

She and her husband, who is also an artist, had been living in Austin since 1995; but when she became pregnant they decided to leave the city and find a house where they could raise a family. They found one along FM 1626, which she describes as the “borderline” between Austin and Buda. “I wanted to live where there is more color,” she says. She is adding to that color and the revitalization of downtown Buda and describes herself as a “painting pioneer.”

Her first foray into public art was the mural by Esther’s Tex Mex. The restaurant’s owner Esther Coronado applied for and received a revitalization grant to improve her property “and she hired me to do the mural.”

That work is in paint and is there to stay. It’s a different story down the street at The Carrington, where her works are in chalk. “It can disappear when it rains,” she said, after which she replaces it with a new theme.

Her work can also be seen at Little Blue Bird, Buda Med Spa, Willow Garden Spa and Particular Home Design.

On top of all that, she is also an art teacher with the Austin ISD, and expects to be back in the classroom next week.

“Art is essential,” she said. And contributing her art is, in her words, “living the American dream.”

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