“Not only have the murals helped protect our windows, the center, and our belongings, they have been a source of beauty and social justice to Rainbow Center and all who seek support from our team.” Troy Christensen, Executive Director, Rainbow Center
Dates: March 2020 – Present
Partners Involved: Downtown Tacoma Partnership, Tacoma Creates, University of Washington-Tacoma
Funding Amount to Artists: $8,700
Funding Sources: Downtown Tacoma Partnership, Tacoma Creates, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, Private Donations
1) Mural by Curtis Ashby, Bleach Tacoma, 1934 Pac Ave
2) Mural by Chris Sharp, Urban Xchange, 1932 Pac Ave
3) Mural by Angela Larsen, Urban Xchange, 1932 Pac Ave
4) Mural by Lillyanne Durham, Urban Xchange, 1932 Pac Ave
5) Mural by Saiyare Refaei, London’s On the Ave, 1908 Pac Ave
6) Mural by Mindy Barker, Union Salon, 708 Opera Alley
7) Mural by Saiyare Refaei, Channing Baby & Co., 1704 Pac Ave
8) Mural by Curtis Ashby, Dunagan Brewing, 1126 Commerce St
9) Mural by Saiyare Refaei, Stocklist Goods & Gifts, 1936 Pac Ave
10) Mural by Mindy Barker, Straight from Philly, 1126 Commerce St #1
11) Mural by Mindy Barker, High Maintenance Spa & Salon, 2605 6th Ave
12) Mural by Curtis Ashby, Black Eagle Tattoo, 706 S 38th St
13) Mural by Nori Kimura, Future site of Flatstick Pub, 809 Pacific Ave
14) Mural by Nori Kimura, 3810 S Yakima
15) Mural by Mindy Barker, Rainbow Center/Oasis, 2215 Pac Ave
16) Mural by Angela Larsen, Pioneer Health Services, 9th & St Helens
17) Mural by Nori Kimura, Pioneer Health Services, 9th & St Helens
18) Mural by Chris Sharp, Pioneer Health Services, 9th & St Helens
19) Mural by Tiffanny Hammonds & UWT Black Student Union, Hello Cupcake, 1740 Pac Ave
Tiffanny Hammonds & UWT Black Student Union
1) support local businesses
2) reduce crime and unwanted graffiti
3) provide income for local artists
4) offer civic hope and positive messaging
Temporary public murals can be rapidly deployed as an efficient means to bolster community spirit, support artists, and act as a preventative measure against crime and vandalism.
Spaceworks acts as a liaison between all the various parties: artists, business owners, property owners, funders, media, and community partners.
Spaceworks manages the program, working with the various partners.
An online “Mural Request Form” for businesses/property owners was made available to the public. This acted an agreement form (getting permission from the business/property owner), a way to accurately/efficiently collect necessary information, and as a tracking mechanism from the resulting data.
Checks were cut to the artists by the Chamber of Commerce, who acts as the fiscal agent for both Spaceworks and the Downtown Tacoma Partnership.
The dual pressures of COVID19 and nationwide protests over racial injustice created a completely unique set of circumstances for public art. Spaceworks has been administering temporary public art for 10 years, but this new set of circumstances called for a new approach. By diving in, and building the plane while flying it, we have learned some valuable lessons.
- Amongst visual artists, there is a very high demand for opportunities to paint small, temporary murals.
- While many artists are willing to paint for free, especially given an opportunity to deliver a message during tumultuous times, they still deserve to be paid. Small arts organizations, like Spaceworks, play a major role setting this standard in a community.
- The context for, and reasoning behind a space being boarded up is very important to take into consideration. In some circumstances, boards going up can perpetuate fear in the community. In this circumstance, painting a mural may act as a sign of approval, effectively legitimizing the decision to put boards up.
- Partnerships mean everything. Without robust existing relationships between agencies, this program would not have been possible. For each Rapid Mural completed, at least 4 agencies contributed either financially, or in kind. This amount of collaboration takes a consistent leader in communication between parties, and Spaceworks plays this role.
- 19 murals completed in just 5 months, March – July 2020.
- The murals generated a large public response through social media posts, videos, pictures, and positive messages.
- The Tacoma Art Museum hosted a public talk “Public Art in Tacoma” via Zoom, featuring Rapid Mural artists and Spaceworks.
- Artist Tiffanny Hammonds & the Black Student Union created a Rapid Mural about racial injustice in America. This was painted on boards covering Hello Cupcake, a locally owned business on Pacific Ave. After one month of being on display, the boards had to come down to repair the previously broken windows. Spaceworks was able to find a new home for the mural, on a boarded up building at 11th & Market. The important messages in this mural will live on, and remain on display for an undetermined amount of time.
- There is a lot of interest from the public in saving/archiving the boards, and eventually having a large exhibit to remember this historic event. The University of Washington Tacoma, and Spaceworks are currently storing some of them. Spaceworks is in conversation with various community partners about their eventual display and long term preservation.
Links to Media Coverage
- “Art in the time of COVID-19” by Allison Needles. Video and article by the Tacoma News Tribune.
- Public Talk : Public Art in Tacoma. July 30, 2020. Hosted by Tacoma Art Museum, featuring Rapid Mural artists and Spaceworks.
Gallery of Images
“I seek positivity and beauty in my city, such as flowers on the sidewalk. It gives me a smile and I feel wonderful just looking at it. Also unique but joyful murals which give me an unexpected excitement and joyfulness. It spices up my life and puts me in a better mood. I want to create that positivity and joyfulness as a muralist.” – NEED CREDIT HERE
“We need public art all the time. During COVID, an uncertain period, we need more positivity and encouragement. Beautiful art in the public sphere gives viewers a moment of joys which promotes their wellbeing.” – Nori Kimura
For general questions about the Rapid Mural program, contact Gabriel Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org
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