Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Murals of Eugene

Colorful street murals have transcended their guerilla art and graffiti roots to become a broadly accepted, mainstream means to tell the story of a community. Eugene, lagging behind Springfield and even Cottage Grove in embracing murals, seems to finally be awakening to their rich possibilities. Spurred by the prospect of the 2021 IAAF Track & Field World Championships coming to Eugene, the city has embarked upon the 20x21 EUG Mural Project to install twenty new murals around town before the event. 

The mural project is bringing world-class muralists to Eugene. Last month, Brazilian duo Acidum Project kicked off the 20x21 project with a stunning new mural on the side of Cowfish Dance Club at 62 W. Broadway, and Brooklyn-based artist Beau Stanton is currently making his mark on the back wall of the McDonald Theatre. Get updates at 20x21 EUG Mural Project.

This coming Saturday, August 20 the Lane Arts Council is leading a bicycle tour of murals located throughout the Whiteaker neighborhood and downtown Eugene. The tour will feature 17 installations, with several of the artists on site to speak about their work. Included among the stops will be the unique opportunity to see Beau Stanton at work on the McDonald Theater mural (you can also see Beau speak on August 17 at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art). The bike tour will also visit other new murals in town, including the Cowfish mural by Acidum Project and one by Ila Rose Art at the Whiteaker CarPark lot. The tour organizers expect Ila Rose, Kari Johnson, Jordan Schaefer-Limbach, Ron Lafond, Valentina Gonzalez, Hans d’Hollosy, Jim Evangelista, and Beau Stanton all to be present to speak on behalf of their work during the tour.

The tour will travel approximately 2 miles by bicycle and will be led by 20x21 EUG Mural Project Committee Member Paul Godin. Sponsors for the tour are the Cultural Services, City of Eugene, John A. Wolfe, PC of Speer Hoyt, LLC, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, First National Taphouse - Eugene, and the Cascadian Courier Collective

Because of a conflicting commitment, I won’t be able to join the bike tour but I do look forward to taking the time someday soon to visit as many of the murals as possible. Because they are so unique, and the best are so attuned to the local vibe, street murals are effective place-makers. They can often be achieved with relative quickness and little expense. The best positively impact their surrounding neighborhood, bringing life to what may have been a listless and moribund public realm. They have the power to engender community pride and a collective sense of identity through modest means. This is why I find them fascinating. Visit the Eugene murals: join the Lane Arts Council bike tour on Saturday, or do like I plan to and simply seek them out on your own at your leisure. I expect to be delighted by what I see and I bet you will be too.

What: 2016 Eugene Murals Bike Tour

When: Saturday, August 20 at 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Where: Tour begins at the Whiteaker CarPark South (5th Alley and Blair Boulevard)

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