Mineral Wells Index
By TYLER MASK
For years, many have wanted the Baker Hotel to come back to life, believing that it would reignite Mineral Wells to its former glory. Although it has taken some time, the city's long-held hope is finally seeming to have substance. These days, all the pieces seem to be aligning, and new leaders are coming together to accept the challenge once more.
From the Baker Restoration Team, spearheaded by Chad Patton and Laird Fairchild, to prominent Mineral Wells residents, advocates for the Baker are rising to the occasion and giving back with their resources, skills and talents. One of these advocates is Perri Leavelle.
Have you seen the “Vote for the Baker” signs around town? If so, then you have seen Leavelle's work. But her contributions to the Baker don't start there. She was an advocate for change even before Fairchild's vision for the Baker was born.
“[More than six years ago], I woke up and called my dad and said, 'I really feel like we need to prayer walk around the Baker,'” Leavelle said. “I don't know why, I just really felt like God said, 'Do this.' I went and I took some of the pastors there, and we walked around. It was kind of like a 'Jericho thing.' We didn't actually walk around seven times or anything like that, but we just prayed for it, and I remember that I felt like God said to anoint the corners of the sidewalks. I poured whatever it was I had... We just wanted this to be a positive thing.”
Leavelle's dreams for the Baker began with a realization that Mineral Wells could be a place for life and restoration – that Mineral Wells could serve as grounds for healing.
“What I love about Mineral Wells is that it is a place to come and relax and get healthy in the natural,” Leavelle said. “There is a well of spiritual healing here. I believe Mineral Wells [is a place] where you can come and just feel at home and kick your feet up and get some rejuvenation. And that's why I didn't want to see some of these other things. Not because, oh, I hate gambling, but because I want to see it as a place where people are being given back to.”
Leavelle is a Mineral Wells native, born and raised. The only extensive amount of time Leavelle spent out of Mineral Wells was when she went to college at Texas Tech University to earn her Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Studio Art, specializing in drawing and print making. Nevertheless, like many artists, Leavelle has some “self-taught” in her veins. Her business revolves largely around graphic design, which she didn't learn in college, and consequently had to teach herself along the way.
Currently, she puts her degree and skills to work on a daily basis through her business, Perri Leavelle Design, which is graphic design group and print shop. Her motto is “Brilliant. Because the right message matters,” which she takes very seriously.
Leavelle started out working from home over 12 years ago doing small business cards for hair dressers at low prices, she said comically. But those days are now gone, as Leavelle has made a name for herself in the community.
Some of her biggest works include:
• Designing the current Baker mailer campaign (in collaboration with Steve and Beth Watson).
• Designing the Chamber of Commerce logo.
• Printing a series of downtown photographs (courtesy of a local photography association).
• Designing Clark Garden's artwork.
• Designing the Crazy Water Festival artwork.
• Designing the Mineral Wells Tourism Brochures and Passports.
• Painting Fuzzy's murals.
• Painting Shotgun's Barbeque murals.
Most recently, Leavelle designed the “Vote for the Baker” graphic, which, as mentioned earlier, is on signs all around town. The image was inspired by an old graphic of the Baker. So her current graphic is sort of a modern take on the old image, Leavelle said.
"I used [the old image] as a base, and then I customized it," Leavelle said.
"I made some tweaks to it, I didn't completely change it. Not all of the windows are there. It seems more lively [that way]. But [the image I used] was so pixelated, you couldn't print from it, and you certainly couldn't have blown it up to 4 feet by 4 feet."
For Leavelle, all of her work is a labor of love. She just so happens to have the opportunity to use her skills to give back to the community she loves. Even as you are reading this, Leavelle is working on her next artistic contributions to Mineral Wells.
“My number one vision starting out was that I really wanted to help do my part to beautify Mineral Wells,” Leavelle said.
And by her clientele base alone, it is apparent that Mineral Wells believes she can do just that.