There is something transformative about lending a hand to a civic project like this. Its scale, its seductive color, and its potential as a new embodiment of the town's spirit inspires people (many of whom hadn't heard about the project until they drove by and saw us painting) to want to say 'I helped' and be able to point to the very spot they painted.
We begin by blocking in large areas of color in the background, so the mural initially resembles an abstract painting made up of interlocking geometric shapes. Later, figures and other elements of the composition will be projected and painted in on top of the background colors. Community painting is also an opportunity for people not involved with the design process to learn about the project, talk about its subject, and visit with friends and fellow streetside critics.
So a big mural like this presents a forum and point of reference for striking up a conversation about the weather, the economy, the government and what it all means. By making it look fun, ala Tom Sawyer, we also get a lot of people to paint and thereby make their mark into their community's unfolding story.
|Original sketch by Norman Rockwell of Tom Sawyer|
laughing while others do the painting.