A City of Canvases: A photo tour of Tacoma's 5 mural sites


Five blighted sites throughout Tacoma are about to receive some artistic attention thanks to the Tacoma Murals Project, an innovative program operated out of City Hall.

In May, the City of Tacoma announced the five sites selected for this year’s program.

The sites include a retaining wall of the 3200 block of East L St. (Dometop Neighborhood Alliance); 220 Puyallup Ave. (Dome District Development Group); 2502 Commerce St. (Hillside Development Council); 5441 S. Sheridan St. (Mann neighborhood); and 6323 McKinley Ave. (Hope Heights).Teams of artists will design unique murals for each of these sites based on community input. The murals will be designed to fight blight and vandalism and should be complete by fall 2012.

Photographs and brief descriptions of the five sites were recently posted to the Tacoma Arts blog, which is online here.

The Tacoma Murals Project joins artists and communities through the collaborative process of mural-making to create powerful artworks that can transform public spaces, neighborhood identities, and individual lives. The project is structured to teach talented adult artists how to work with communities to design and implement high quality murals that are technically and aesthetically successful. Training involves a series of classroom sessions and ‘hands-on’ experience creating murals with community input.

After completion of training workshops, teams of qualified artists, led by teaching artists, are paired with community groups selected to participate. Each artist team designs and implements a mural that reflects the stories and content researched from the community.

The community groups are provided with funding to complete a mural, an artist team to implement ideas, technical assistance, and general promotion of the project. In return, the selected community groups assist the artist team through community coordination, input of stories and content, and maintenance of the mural after its completion.

The Tacoma Murals Project roster of past artists includes Rachael Dotson, Jeremy Gregory, Joni Joachims, Christopher Jordan, Kelda Martensen, Marlin Peterson, Brad Pugh, Chris Sharp and Kenji Stoll. This program is an initiative of the Graffiti Reduction Through Community Based Art team, part of the City of Tacoma’s Safe, Clean & Attractive effort.

More information is online here.