Murals on every street corner | News
The City of Eugene has installed over 40 murals by various artists as of 2022. Many of the murals aim to give visibility to cultural heritages and bring vitality to Eugene during the pandemic.
Eugene’s Cultural Services Division, which manages arts and culture programs for the city of Eugene, had to cancel many community events and gatherings when the pandemic began, said Kate Ali, Eugene’s public arts manager. .
“Public art has become the most effective way to bring Eugene that spark of vibrancy that only the arts can provide, while providing opportunities for our arts economy,” Ali said. “Since then, we have engaged our streets with murals, temporary art installations, percent for art projects and have also worked with our downtown building owners to create exhibition opportunities for local artists in our Windowfront exhibitions.”
The city has three programs that have created murals: the Community Murals, the Urban Canvas Program, and the 20×21 Mural Project.
Community Murals is a city initiative that invites community members and commissioned artists to imagine and express the local area’s history, community values and what they would like the future to look like, according to the city’s website.
The most recent community mural is “We Rise,” painted by artist Rachel Wolfe-Goldsmith and located at the Mary Spilde Center in downtown Eugene. The 12ft by 16ft mural is from a partnership between the City of Eugene’s Cultural Services, Lane Community College and We Rise – a downtown artist selection committee made up of black and African youth .
In 2020, We Rise wanted to create a mural to respond to the current social justice movement and inspire beauty, hope, change, unity and integrity, the City of Eugene wrote in a statement. The city installed the “We Rise” mural on January 12.
Ali said the city’s public art program strives to honor and make visible cultural heritage through representation, resources, access and opportunity.
“The truth is, we have a lot of work to do to create a sense of safety and welcome for our underrepresented communities in Eugene, and our murals are just a small part of that effort,” Ali said. . “Murals become an opportunity to provide new insights and insights into experiences that our community can reflect on.”
Other community murals include “Fibers of History,” which draws connections between Indigenous peoples of the Willamette Valley and Indigenous peoples of Latin America, and “Loud, Proud and Passionate,” which depicts women leaders with disabilities. , according to the city’s website. .
The City of Eugene started the 20×21 Project in 2016 with the goal of creating at least 20 outdoor murals in Eugene ahead of the 2022 IAAF World Championships. As of August 2019, artists completed 22 murals for the project.
Ali said this project will inspire future public art initiatives for years to come.
“This program created a community legacy and increased the appetite and enthusiasm for murals in Eugene,” Ali said. “It has opened up opportunities for our local, world-class muralists while inviting talented international artists to come visit and engage our city.”
Eugene’s Urban Canvas program offers local artists the opportunity to create murals with local businesses. In 2022, the program mainly focused on showcases that will be open until spring.
The city has created showcases since 2020, which seek to provide artists with the opportunity to showcase their work and fill the void in downtown storefronts, said the Downtown Public Art Program Assistant, Chanin Santiago.
“The program helps local artists and arts organizations showcase engaging and vibrant work that activates empty storefronts, cultivates our arts ecology, showcases downtown businesses, and sparks engagement in our community,” said Santiago.
Janene Block, an illustrator and painter who studied fine art at the University of Oregon, has her showcase exhibition “Spring Fling” on view through November 21, 2021.
“My intention for ‘Spring Fling’ was to inspire excitement for life and new beginnings and was to be an ongoing theme of the Winter Wonderland showcase exhibit,” Block said. “I’ve used natural elements with pops of color to bring joy to our community during the difficult times we’ve been through.”
“Winter Illuminations,” Eugene’s current showcase exhibit, will last until February 20.