There's a new mural in town. Here's why 'Alice es Buena Gente' made a comeback

Robin Bradshaw
Alice Echo News Journal

Defaced or facelift?

That's the big question being asked by some this week on Main Street.

On the night  of Dec. 9 local artist Daniel Moreno created a signature mural on the front of the old Rialto Theatre in downtown Alice. The mural reads "Alice es Buena Gente," a slogan from "back in the day" many natives remember. 

City leaders have expressed the mural is a beautiful piece of art but have been put in a difficult position because Moreno didn't seek permission for his latest vibrant creation.

Alice es Buena Gente

ALICE ES BUENA GENTE

"The slogan first began with a campaign marketed by the Alice National Bank started in the late 1980s early 1990's," said Jim Mayo, who was the bank president at the time. "It was a big deal."

The campaign's goal was simple: raise morale by highlighting the town, people and culture. It translates to "Alice is good people." 

"Every week the campaign would feature people in the local community and the good they do for the City of Alice. We had all the media outlets, news stations in Corpus Christi, radio shows, local newspapers all featured the campaign. The bank handed out bumper stickers and we couldn't keep enough of them," Mayo explained. 

"If you grew up here -  You get it," Alice Mayor Jolene Vanover said. "Honestly, when I saw it was like a breath of fresh air because that used to be the motto in Alice." 

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Others agreed.

"It's nice to hear the artist's upbeat expression of our community," Councilman Ron Burke commented. 

"When I noticed it the first thing that went through my mind was that 'It is a fact... we are Buena Gente' but did he have permission from the owners which was the city?" Councilwoman Sandra Bowen asked.

Bowen pointed out the city is currently trying to sell the property and the artwork, which was done without permission, could deface the nostalgic look of the frontage that one may want to keep."

"This is not a do or die situation in my book but be advised the law is always the law. I love our community, it’s beauty and encourages positive vibes but we all need to be law-abiding citizens at the same time," Bowen added. 

Moreno maintains his intentions were to brighten up a building that's sat vacant for years and to spread a positive message in the community.

"I just wanted to do something for the community," Moreno said. If the city wants it down I understand but my intention was for Alice to get back to what I grew up (with) and consider a change and refocus on a change to make the city better and get back to  'Alice es Buena Gente.'"