Over the past few years City of Eugene Cultural Services has orchestrated a vision of Eugene as both an art exhibit and art studio. The public is seen as both an art audience and contributing artists. Public events and arts programs have been key items on the city’s cultural agenda.
Consider mural art. In recent years, murals have gained a prominent place in the local public art scene. The city’s Urban Canvas program has built a roster of more than 100 artists looking to be matched to mural-related projects. The city provides project coordination while working to match artists and local businesses whose ambitions include not only mural art on building exteriors, but also on other public structures that can function as art venues.
The 20x21EUG Mural Project was established by Eugene Cultural Services to create 20-plus world-class outdoor murals before the World Athletic Championships Oregon22. More than 20 highly regarded artists recruited from across the globe have completed murals to date. Three of the muralists—Ila Rose, Bayne Gardner, and Kari Johnson—are local talents.
Peighton Carmichael is another local artist on the Urban Canvas roster. Carmichael was chosen to decorate a pair of Tiny Free Pantries managed by the nonprofit Burrito Brigade. Several dozen pantries across the community serve as public distribution sites for free meals.
The public art associated with the Urban Canvas project is plentiful and varied. Have you noticed certain traffic control boxes at street intersections across town? Much like the pantries, the boxes display mural-style art.
Or how about the oft-changing, seasonally themed windowfront exhibitions, Harmonic Laboratory light displays, and recent illuminated works of art showcased in downtown Eugene storefronts and other city center locations?
Or the BRIDGE Exhibitions—group-created art displays focused on socio-political themes? The most current project, “Reflections,” is mated to a red British phone booth in the Whiteaker neighborhood where art consumers record messages for their future selves with hopes for social change.
And there’s much more. Eugene’s public art scene, it seems, is pretty darn impressive.