There are only a handful of music venues venues in Tyler. Of these few places to hear live music and see local art, only one is like the Coffin Shop in downtown Tyler. So, what have you been missing out on?

The Coffin Shop is Tyler's little secret, hidden away in a courtyard right off the square. Why have you not heard of it?

This underground spot has just in the past few months really taken off running. Housed in the first building to be erected on the square in Tyler, this space is home to lots of history and now the local culture. The name of the venue gives away more of this building's history. The area where bands and artists show their stuff was once where they built coffins. The courtyard before the steps down into the venue itself was once the alley that the hearse picked up the coffins.

Who would have known a building with such an odd history of death would be the one breathing life into Tyler's night scene?

Ranging from acoustic music, live art, heavy metal bands, to DJs and so much more, this hip spot is offering a little something for everyone to enjoy. Recently added to the map of the Art Walks downtown, the Coffin Shop is becoming a headquarters for local artists.

This coming Friday, Oct. 26, there will be a solo exhibition for artist David Dunham. Many solo art shows have been taking place in this historic building. All different mediums and styles of art can be seen here. The art is even busting out of the underground space and onto the walls of the courtyard of the Coffin Shop.

One that I know very well, as I am the one who was honored with the task of painting.


On the left you will see talented local artist, Mason Buchanan, working on his mural. Below that one is the two-story mural I was able to paint for the Coffin Shop. This kind of opportunity is a rarity in Tyler, not many places will allow art to literally cover their building.

The acceptance and encouragement of art that the Coffin Shop offers sets them apart from the other venues in Tyler. What they understood early on is the importance of art in a community, and that it can give you that hip and cool edge above other spaces. Even though they are pioneering the art acceptance movement, the first to come to this venue was music.

There has been a lack of constant live music to be seen in Tyler. Every once in a while we will have a band come through Tyler, like ZZ Top coming Sunday, or the concerts coming through Click's or Electric Cowboy. But, normally there is not a space that has music every weekend.

The Coffin Shop has for the past month housed local music of every style. Sure, there are other places on the square that offer bands. These places generally show cover bands and charge a high admittance fee. The Coffin Shop offers all styles of music, local and large, and only takes a couple of bucks out of your wallet.

For a price almost always less than $5, you can see some talented music makers and artists. What else could you ask for on a hum drum boring Friday night?

If the idea of live music or art to liven up a Friday or Saturday night doesn't tickle your fancy, the Coffin Shop also offers comedy. There has been a recent surge of comedy shows in Tyler. The Coffin Shop recognized this trend and jumped right into having comedians come joke around in the basement space that was once such a somber place. Ranging from crude, family friendly, everyday life, and political; these comedians offer laughs to all.

Speaking of politics, throughout the debates we have heard a lot about local businesses being the backbone of the economy. So, don't wait for Obama or Romney to help your local business. Come out and support a local venue that is trying to support the culture of our community.

For your first visit to the Coffin Shop there are two great choices of events for this weekend. As I explained earlier, there is a solo art exhibit for David Dunham. This will night will be packed with unique art and dance worthy music from two of Tyler's most talented DJs. The next night, Halloween, there will be a great costume party with numerous local bands playing. The variety of the music being played that offers something for everyone's ears.

The Coffin Shop is turning into the little venue that could. Let us all support this good change and growth in Tyler. For a preview taste, here is a photo gallery (provided by our own in-house photographer Christopher Vinn) of what you have missed so far.