Downtown's "Alley Flats" Needs More Love
SAN ANGELO, TX — In the late 1920s and 1930s, during the heyday of downtown San Angelo retail commerce, the alleyways behind many of the buildings there were used as secondary storefronts. They were the back entrances and exits that allowed shoppers greater mobility on foot to bridge between blocks, or get to the car quicker. The Texas Theater and its rear exits sent a flood of people into the alley after popular picture shows. The theater closed for good in the mid-1980s.
As commerce departed downtown, the alleyways became out-of-view locales for more nefarious commerce, like drug dealing.
A popular alleyway in San Angelo is what today is labeled “Alley Flats” but also known at "Painted Alley" or "Paintbrush Alley."
The area behind the Office Furniture Discounters, 19 W. Twohig Ave., was noticed by a group of artists in 2005. Together they volunteered time and materials to paint the exterior walls behind the buildings in the alleyway.
In 2013, a group organized with the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts to spruce up the alleyway.
“The use of the alley makes it worth it,” said Del Velasquez, Executive Director of Downtown San Angelo, Inc. “We’ve had people use Alley Flats for graduation photos, wedding photos,” he said.
“It’s too bad vandals have struck,” Velasquez said.
While no official artist group has volunteered since the 2013-14 school year, vandals with their cans of spray paint have. Wherever the art was accessible, as in not on the second floor, anti-Christian, and oftentimes, pornographic words and images have been sprayed over the murals. The alleyway remains accessible and generally clean, but it is doubtful it remains a favorite location for wedding photos.
WATCH - A one minute tour of Alley Flats on February 25, 2018:
The alley can be reached by parking in the parking lot on the east side of the Office Furniture Discounters and walking behind the building.
Velasquez said any group, or someone wanting to form a group, to help rehabilitate Alley Flats should call or stop by his office at 24 W. Concho Ave. (325) 655-2345.