by Kirby Lindsay
Sometimes art doesn’t come easy. Sometimes it requires effort, and in the case of the 46th Street Mural – a community art project that heretofore had appeared almost effortless – a recent snag has only made volunteers more determined than ever to reach out for help, and keep going.
The mural “has already accomplished some goals,” according to Craig van den Bosch. Planning the mural – for the wall along North 46th Street under Aurora Avenue – has brought people together, built a sense of community, and gotten neighbors determining their own environment. “I feel like it’s something to talk about with neighbors you might not otherwise get to know,” explained Leah Eister-Hargrave.
When Everyone Pitches In
Certainly on June 13, when a call went out for volunteers to clean up the area in preparation for painting, the response overwhelmed expectations. “I was blown away that so many people came,” Clifton admitted. van den Bosch reported a dozen bags of debris were hauled away. “It looks better,” he said, “like people care about the area.”
People care. Already the steering committee has brought the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods on- board, and won a Matching Grant to pay for the original mural design, and installation – and some maintenance - by ArtWorks. They’ve passed a City design/review process. Both the Fremont Neighborhood Council and the Fremont Chamber of Commerce have pledged support, and money, to the project. As a whole, the community participated through an on-line advisory vote on the design (over 800 people took part), and at public meetings.
Now they’ve hit a snag – in the street permit process. METRO trolley lines, for buses, run along 46th Street. Safety regulations will restrict access – no metal scaffolding near electrical trolley lines. van den Bosch agreed with the need to be careful, especially as they have kids from ArtWorks and volunteers painting.
Paint, Or Bust!
Not to be deterred, the Mural’s steering committee pressed on – asking selected artist Todd Lown for a re-design that requires less painting near the lines. It will require more money, and changes to the original painting schedule, but they think this community can rally up the support.
The changes will still allow at least two weekends when volunteers can come, pitch in to paint in the outline drawn on the wall. Also volunteers will be able to help on weekdays, if they schedule and work well with the ArtWorks program supervisors, and the kids.
“This redesign will stand on its own,” van den Bosch insisted. Clifton voiced her own support, “I think Todd’s going to do a brilliant job on the redesign, and he’s going to work within the new limitations to come up with something that will be fun to live with.”
“I think it’s really exciting that we’ll be seeing something up there by the end of summer,” Eister-Hargrave said. Clifton voiced fear that some neighbors may be disappointed – the mural will not be the exact design they voted on - but she admitted, “I’m just eager to see it painted and dedicated.”
As are we all, but to get there will take a little more community effort. To donate money, contact the 46th Street Mural steering committee by e-mail. To help paint, also keep an eye on the Facebook page. If you know of, or have, materials to donate, the project needs painting supplies, dollies, hand trucks, & wagons (to transport supplies), caution tape, traffic pylons, and, of course, snacks and beverages whenever possible – for volunteers making art happen!
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.