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Creativity among COVID-19: McKeen strives to create pandemic-proof smiles through artwork

Raphael McKeen, handyman, carpenter and artist, is known for eye-catching ride, a green Ford Freestyle, which he has decorated every holiday since the beginning of COVID-19.

Raphael McKeen, handyman, carpenter and artist, is known for eye-catching ride, a green Ford Freestyle, which he has decorated every holiday since the beginning of COVID-19.

CHILDRESS – Ending up in Childress on an odd chance, Raphael McKeen, self-proclaimed handyman, carpenter and artist, has made it his home since 2015.

And, during those six years, McKeen has made his mark on the city – quite literally – creating signs for local businesses, painting the downtown sports mural and helping revitalize historical buildings.

However, McKeen’s latest project has attracted more attention than usual.

“I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback,” McKeen said. “I’ve had people follow me for miles just to take a photo. One lady even gave me a rose.”

That project being McKeen’s Ford Freestyle, a green SUV that he has turned into a driving piece of artwork, displaying new and creative scenes atop his vehicle every holiday, including Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and more, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Scaling down from his normal six-foot-tall mannequins, gifted to him by the Childress County Heritage Museum, McKeen’s latest scene, in honor of Memorial Day, features Barbie dolls, all of which have been styled to resemble Davy Crockett and other Battle of the Alamo veterans.

Scaling down from his normal six-foot-tall mannequins, gifted to him by the Childress County Heritage Museum, McKeen’s latest scene, in honor of Memorial Day, features Barbie dolls, all of which have been styled to resemble Davy Crockett and other Battle of the Alamo veterans.

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