Under the Bridge: AMP Poised to Complete the Lexington Gateway Mural – Update on the Asheville Mural Project Summer 09
Arts 2 People’s Asheville Mural Project, Lexington Ave Gateway Mural, Summer 2009 – Grant and fundraising news included
The Asheville Mural Project is poised to complete last summer’s work on the concrete support piers of the I-240 Bridge downtown. The Lexington Avenue side of the Gateway Mural is estimated to be completed by the end of July, where artists Kurt Thaesler, Steve Lister, and Harper Leich have been working to finish the portion dedicated to the arts in Asheville. Painting is currently well underway, as well as a plan to address the water run-off issue occurring due to the break in the roadway overhead.
AMP will be honored as the recipient of a $5,000 grant from the Chaddick Foundation at the end of June, and hopes to raise interest in the community to match the grant, for a total of $10,000 enabling the collective to complete the mural in it’s entirety, both Lexington and Merrimon sides. Donations can be made to AMP c/o Arts2People PO Box 1093 Asheville NC 28802, or by visiting our website www.ashevillemuralproject.org. You may also contact AMP Director, Molly Must, at Molly@arts2people.org
AMP is also the beneficiary of the first four Lexingon Ave Bizarres and truly wishes to thank the organizers! AMP’s scaffolding this time has been donated which is great as it is helping keep costs down. The team has hit one minor snag where they have been looking to find a solution for the drainage/ roadway leaking problem which is happening directly above the mural. The leaking is resulting in water pouring off the top of the concrete wall (the canvas) and over the top of the finish mural work. They have spoken with a roofer who hopes to come up with a long term solution to protect the mural.
The Gateway mural has been a collaborative effort amongst several painters in the Asheville Mural Project. So far, for the past three weeks, three painters’ have been hard at work, Harper Leich, Kurt Thaesler and Steve Lister on the Lexington Gateway Mural to finish up the West side’s north section.
They have been really excited to get started on this side of the mural because their design really focused on the center, where both sections of wall supports come together, but do not touch. They felt that this was where the real potential in the mural design was and so it was a great feeling to get started on the north end and complete the other portrait to start the dialogue between the two images.
The drum circle created by silhouetted drummers also is an element that carries over from one wall the next, and sort of embraces this dialogue… the idea has been hanging out there while AMP has been fundraising and it is great to finally see the core concept taking shape now.
This west side of the Lexington Avenue mural project was tagged with the theme “Asheville’s Arts”. The general hope is that the life of the mural will summarize the arts and culture of city of Asheville.
AMP will be extending the mural to the Merrimon Avenue side of the bridge, and has gathered a new group of artists to manifest the plan. One section of the design will be a large stylized image of two individuals playing chess in Pritchard Park. One of the players in the mural, Charles O’Kelley, plays chess by the outdoor boards in the park “every day the sun shines” and indeed can be found there at the Haywood and Patton intersection on most summer days, contemplating the chess table he brings from home. Originally reigning from New York, Charles appears playing chess in the movie Searching for Bobby Fisher.
The approach to these two new segments surrounding Merrimon Avenue will be very different from the project’s previous traditional techniques. Inspired by Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program (muralarts.org), AMP will be using an off-the-wall method of painting on 5′ by 5′ sections of a non-woven fiber nick-named “parachute cloth” that will be applied to the wall with an acrylic medium, similar to wall-papering. This method presents numerous advantages, namely the ability for many people to work on the project at once, on the walls of studio, or on tables at a community event, eliminating the extended use of scaffolding. The mural should last longer as well, as the paint will be infused within the fibers and will be safe from peeling.
The Asheville Mural Project (AMP) seeks to build bridges within the community through the fantastic medium of public art. Locals and visitors alike benefit from the experience outdoor art invokes, as it connects them to the creative experience. Creating public art provides a uniquely enriching experience for artists and non-artists alike, and invests participants deeply in their community.
Murals beautify otherwise conventional and often bleak urban architecture, and reflect the unique culture and feeling of an individual place. The Asheville Mural Project aims to enliven our habitat by brightening dark corners, enhancing forgotten space and celebrating the every-day routes we travel. As well as enriching public life, murals memorialize the ideas, concerns, and dreams of a community. Murals are the voice, expression, and vision of a culture.
AMP is becoming a successful and enduring fixture for the area, enriching our environment and providing opportunities for our artists and youth.
The Asheville Mural Project is a branch of the Arts2People 501(c)3 non-profit, an organization devoted to promoting the role of the arts as an integral part of our culture by serving the community through arts outreach, bringing the arts to those in need of the healing power of art, supporting the careers of artists, and through community cultural development. Arts 2 People houses several programs including the Lexington Ave. Arts and Fun Festival (LAAFF), the REACH Programming series, Moving Women, and the Faces of Asheville. Visit www.arts2people.org