Do you own a building in Clark County? Does it have an outer wall?
We have a process that will help you get from blank wall to beautiful art. In a nutshell:
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Each year we have a major effort we call “Summer of Murals” (SOM). We work with other agencies to develop both a theme and to identify funding. Usually this work is completed by early spring and we send our call to artists with the details. Through the summer months, the murals are complete and we often have celebrations in early autumn.
When we have projects that don’t come under the SOM umbrella, we call them Special Projects and work a little differently to meet different situations.
All projects follow a pretty standard sequence of events.
Agreement with building owner. We also work with the tenant business when appropriate, but the paperwork is the first step. This agreement sets out the budget, general direction of the art, and agreement on how the art will be selected.
Wall preparation. Once the wall is selected, it must be cleaned and prepared for painting. This step usually includes power washing of some sort.
Call to artists. While the wall preparation is occurring, a call to artists will be sent out if the art is competitive. This is really an exciting part of the mural process. We see such amazing art submissions from the community! In a perfect world, we could paint all the murals. The call to artist specifies the scope and compensation of the project.
Supports. Most murals are tall enough that scaffolding, lifts, or ladders are required. Acquiring the support structures is usually conducted while we are waiting for submissions from artists.
Art selection. Once we have the artist submissions, the selection process occurs with multiple judges agreeing to each piece. Depending on the project, we have stakeholders, building owners, CCMS representatives, and community volunteers involved.
Project details. Once the winning art is selected, artists are notified and artist agreements are signed. Following that we have the artist orientation where we review the schedule, the artist submits paint requests, and other details are addressed. Storage of equipment and clean up needs are part of the discussions.
The mural. Finally, the artists create their murals! This can be weeks or days, depending on multiple factors. It is always magical.
After the art is completed, graffiti coating is applied.
We usually have public receptions with the artist to officially present the new murals. Public announcements are usually posted in social media and on our website.
That is a simple overview. Contact CCMS to learn more.
Why Have Murals in Public Spaces?
Murals have become a unique and appealing way of increasing tourism and improving commerce. Clark County Mural Society has been working toward a vision of artistic identity and cultural richness in Vancouver, Washington since 2004. Our goal is to become one of the key mural destinations for tourism on the West Coast. In the next five years, through the annual Summer of Murals competition, we plan to bring Vancouver’s number of murals to over 100.
Murals transform public space and individual lives in our community. Getting a mural and contributing to the beautification of Vancouver bring many benefits including:
- Promoting economic development by increasing tourism, business and tax revenues, and property values
- Inspiring and energizing our town and uniting our community, organized groups, and businesses by encouraging participation from all ages and walks of life
- Beautifying our streets while decreasing vandalism and eliminating graffiti
A push to get 100 attention getting and interesting murals downtown will put us over the top to achieve a destination for local, area and out of area visitors. Please join us in helping to achieve our goal!
Academics and scholars throughout the the world have long praised the use of murals as a promotion of culture and their beneficial effects on the cities and towns who employ them. Below is a brief synthesis of various studies that we’ve collected over the years by our colleague Jerry Rollings.
Small Town Murals
There are many small town murals programs. Most of them are not close to a major highway and focus on a limited number of local attractions, history and personalities. Some obviously lost interest years ago and the old murals are fading and no new ones are planned. Some programs are ongoing and highly organized. In every case the aim was to increase tourism and local pride. In our area Toppenish is the best example. They have a tour and a staffed office. The shining star among small towns is Chemainus on Vancouver Island. It is three miles off the main highway but has managed to create a tourist industry where there was none before through the mural program.
Large Town Murals
The two most notable programs are Los Angeles and Philadelphia. The Great Wall of Los Angeles is 1/2 mile long, 13 feet high and painted on the wall of a concrete drainage canal. It emphasizes the contributions and struggles of women and minorities in the history of California. There are many other murals in LA but it’s a big town! There is no central organizing facility. The approach in Philadelphia is entirely different. It was formed in 1986 to achieve two goals: graffiti reduction and arts education. Initially large amounts of public funding were involved but a non profit to raise funds has since assumed some of the $1,500,000 annual cost. In one period from 2001 to 2004 600 murals were created. The program employs 100 convicted graffiti artists and 200 professional artists each year.
Medium Town Murals (like Vancouver)
No generalization is possible for medium size towns but increases in tourism and civic pride are prominent aims.
How does Vancouver fit in? Access is superior to almost all small and medium size towns. The local history and cultural significance is better than anywhere on the West coast and on a par with many East coast locations. The only regulation limiting mural images is that it may not serve a commercial purpose. Many jurisdictions have arbitrary and confusing rules.
Vancouver has an unusual opportunity at present. We have extensive history, natural phenomena and features as subjects, excellent local artists, supportive material sponsors, an enthusiastic Mural Society and 24 successful downtown murals.
A push to get 100 attention getting and interesting murals downtown will put us over the top to achieve a destination for local, area and out of area visitors.