Corvallis Mural Project

GRACE KNUTSEN

The creative spirit of Corvallis is alive and well, thanks to the Corvallis Mural Project, an ongoing public art project sponsored by the Downtown Corvallis Association and local businesses. The city center beautification project started in September 2016 with the goal of making art accessible to the public, is transforming empty city walls into canvases for artists with public art sized greater than life.

In general, public murals are thought to reflect the social values of a community, providing a window into the heart of a town. Murals often tell stories, such as what a community wants for their future, what a community thinks, and where community members come from (the “roots” of a community, so to speak). The value of public art is not just in the beauty created, but also in engaging a community, such as through conversations and shared experiences that occur as a result of exploring art.

Funding for the Corvallis Mural Project comes from a variety of sources, including downtown businesses, sponsors, and private donors. To date, the mural project has supported the art for eight murals on street walls in downtown through the efforts of five artists who are local or who otherwise have local roots.  Their contributions have created what can only be described as an outdoor public museum.

Although the painting of a mural itself is a somewhat quick project (the existing projects to date have taken anywhere from one day to more than a week), planning the details in advance is a much more complicated process. It involves the selection of a location (the canvas), securing an artist, the conception, and approval of the mural idea, the design phase of the project, and then finally, the creating the work of art. Because some murals are located in busy public areas of downtown, sometimes the art is painted after hours or even at night, when parking lots or alleys are deserted. Weather also impacts when painting takes place, where artists must avoid the rain or the heat of the sun during daytime hours.  Despite all these preliminary obstacles, once complete, the visual tapestries create a new visual identity for the downtown area, transforming blank walls into inspiration and invoking creative thought and conversation amongst the community and visitors, as well as giving an opportunity for photos. Through collaboration between city, local business owners, sponsors and volunteers, and artists, the Corvallis Mural Project has promoted the arts by making art accessible to the public, thereby transforming the downtown area into a more vibrant town center. Take an afternoon (and your camera) and discover the public arts movement in downtown. #corvallismuralproject

Below is the list of mural projects completed to date as a result of the Corvallis Mural Project.

Aguante Pachamana (“Stay Strong Mother Earth”) – off SW 1st next to Mongolian Grill – Eileen Hinkle (@eileen.k.h)

Buteo jamaicensis (red-tailed hawk) – in the alley behind American Dream Pizza between SW 2nd and SW 3rd – Alice Marshall (@alicequickdraw)

Mountain Sunset – in the alley behind American Dream Pizza between SW 2nd and SW 3rd – Sage Zahorodni (@dampearth)

Totality – in the alley behind American Dream Pizza between SW 2nd and SW 3rd – Sebastian “Vela” Velazquez (@velaart)

NO TITLE (Willamette Valley view) – on NW Jackson between SW 1st and SW 2nd at Peak Sports  – Eileen Hinkle

Oh Dear – on the Reynolds Law Firm building off SW 4th behind The Inkwell – Sebastian “Vela” Velazquez

The Oddfellows Mural – off SW Jefferson in the alley between SW 1st and SW 2nd – Alice Marshall

Maya – at the back of Taco Vino off Monroe between SW 1st and SW 2nd – Skye Walker (@skywalker_art)

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