As chief creative officer at M2G Ventures, a commercial real estate group responsible for the Dreamer mural series around Fort Worth, Katie Murray is making Cowtown more beautiful one Instagram-worthy wall at a time. (See for yourself at 200 Carroll St., 5702 Locke Ave. and 1305 W. Magnolia Ave.)
After earning her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington, the North Texas native set to work as a graphic designer. But her true love, painting, beckoned.
Murray went back to school for a master’s in painting from Texas Woman’s University and, during her last semester, got the surprise of her life when she learned that she and her husband, Jeff, vice president of sales for Sellmark Corporation, were expecting their first child.
Now a mom of two boys—Charlie, 4, and Campbell, 1—the 32-year-old stays busy creating and curating art for M2G Ventures and Art Room, the contemporary gallery she co-owns.
“Curating shows is one of my favorite things to do,” Murray says. “Getting to see other talented artists’ work brings life to my work and my life.”
Have you always been passionate about art?
At kindergarten graduation, when they ask you what you want to be when you grow up, I said an artist. I didn’t take an art class until ninth grade, but I really enjoyed it. I had really great teachers that fostered that creativity in me. And my parents were always taking us to art museums and doing activities that were culturally related.
How do you find the artists you feature in Art Room?
We started with artists that we knew. Eventually, we created a system in which people could submit their artwork. At the beginning, our shows weren’t really structured around a subject or a theme. As more shows went on, we became more specific. It’s been a learning curve. I’m not really business oriented and neither is my partner. All we want to do is show and see beautiful art.
Which artists do you admire most?
Alice Neel is probably my favorite portrait artist.
Did you always know you wanted to have kids?
I knew it would probably happen if I got married and lived that traditional life. It wasn’t necessarily on our timeline, but I’m glad we had them when we did.
What's it like being a boy mom?
It’s so hard. I’m wondering if it’s going to get easier as they get older. I love them because they’re my kids, but I don’t know that I would have wished that on myself to have two boys. Maybe my kids are just extremely active!
What's your favorite thing about motherhood?
Laughing with them. They are so funny.
How do your children inspire you creatively?
Through their play. Watching them and seeing how they’re learning new things is encouraging. It forces me to relearn things—like with shapes and colors, the very elementary parts of design.
Where elese do you find inspiration?
When I travel, which is rare these days, I go to galleries and museums. I went to Denver in March, and there is a huge outdoor mural, and that brought a lot of inspiration to me. I’ll scour the internet. I’m addicted to Pinterest. You’ll find inspiration everywhere, as long as you’re open to it.
How do you balance your work with having two little boys?
It’s hard. I find myself struggling at work; I want to be with the kids. When I’m with the kids, I know there’s stuff I need to do at work. It’s hard to find the balance, but I just have to focus on what I’m doing while in the moment. There are times the children have to come with me to meet an artist or get a quote, but I’m hoping they’re learning from the experience. I hope having this career, while still being able to take care of them, gives them the best of both worlds. They get to see me as a professional and as a mom.
What's your favorite way to take time for yourself?
I try to get together with girlfriends at least once a week. I have
amazing girlfriends who are great conversationalists and always have fun stories to tell. That’s kind of my relaxation period.
Favorite way to spend time out as a family?
We like to try new restaurants. It’s fun to see Fort Worth growing. I feel like we always have new restaurants to try.
I’m so glad we got an HG Sply Co. Mi Cocina is always a great spot for the kids.
How do you and Jeff stay connected?
We try to go on a date night at least once a month. It’s nice to just talk to him and have adult conversations and dream and imagine what the future is going to hold for us.
Where do you take the kids for art?
When they were younger, I’d take them to the Amon Carter. Now that they’re older, we like to go to the Kimbell. If I can get them in the right mood, I ask them questions about the artwork. Sometimes, I take them to the Modern because they have some large colorful pieces and some cool installations.
What advice do you have for other moms hoping to cultivate a love of the arts in their children?
Encourage them to draw. Bring them to art festivals. Bring them to museums. It’s hard sometimes, but kids absorb so much. It doesn’t matter if they aren’t interested in art—introducing them to art will help them grow.