Essex Park Mindful Mural Project

$3,719 of $4,000 goal

Raised by 66 people in 14 months
Created May 23, 2018
Imagine color and cheer at Essex Park. This could happen - in the form of a mural! 

My name is Ellie Russell and I'm the Beautification Chair for the Foster-Powell Neighborhood Association. I'm also a stay-at-home mom to two young girls. My family and I live three houses away from Essex Park and play there often. I'm coordinating a public art project with artists Rather Severe and students at Marysville School. 

My heart was broken during the summers of 2016 and 2017, when Essex Park  experienced an increase of crime and public safety hazards. Drug use and transient activity showed it's ugly face with garbage and needles often found. Gun violence occurred twice - one time  on a sunny weekend with lots of families present. Physical assault  happened randomly to my nextdoor neighbor while she played with her kids at the playground. In the dreary months that followed, parents and neighbors often made the disheartening statement "I've stopped going to Essex Park."

It became clear to me that something needed to change. Our neighborhood deserved better. 

Murals have the power to create community  and invite people to use a space in positive ways. They attract people to a space and encourage conversation. They unite neighbors and help us find our common ground. Public art can also help reduce crime by drawing more attention  to a space. 

Essex Park is a large, tree-filled shady space located in Portland, OR at SE 76th & Center Street. It is very family-oriented with a playground and water feature. A baseball field, basketball court, and tennis court also make it a popular space for all kinds of recreation. Free lunch is served to all kids every day during the summer thanks to the amazing Free Lunch + Play program

Summer days are often filled with the cheer of children picnicking and playing in the water. 

This is the small restroom building where the mural will go. 

The mural will be painted in the fall of 2018. Originally, my plan was for the art to go on one wall only - the one facing the baseball field. But due to our fundraising success, we are planing for a mural on all four walls of the building!  The artwork will continuously circle around the entire building. 
30101448_1533621631361771_r.jpegHere is the beautiful artwork that was submitted to the Parkboard! The front of the building is the sun and the back is the moon. The colors of the side walls gradually change from light to dark. Look for symbolism of mindfulness throughout the art. 

The mural artists will be Rather Severe , a duo of muralists who have done several high profile murals here in Portland. Maybe you've noticed their three murals near the New Seasons  on SE Woodstock Boulevard. The artwork for Essex Park is not yet completed, but will have Rather Severe's bright, colorful, bold, and playful style. The theme of the artwork will be "mindful." 

Rather Severe will paint the mural with middleschool students from nearby Marysville School. Marysville uses the MindUp curriculum  where students are taught social/emotional skills.  A goal of the mural is for these kids, all who live in the area, to bring mindfulness out into the community through art.

Neighbors may also be able to help paint. Please stay tuned for painting dates and how to be involved.

30101448_1532111374428752_r.jpegIn early July, Jon and Travis of Rather Severe met with students at Marysville to talk about their process for designing and painting murals. 

The Essex Park Mindful Mural Project is a 100% grassroots project that is only happening with donations by community members and local businesses. We have no grant money. 

Local Realtor John McKay  got this project off the ground by contributing a $500 match of what the community first donated. Thanks, John McKay! The Foster-Powell Neighborhood Association  pitched in $500. Nurture Realty  has contributed a $1,000 match of what was donated during July. Thanks Eric and Shanan at Nurture!

All other donations are from you! 

The money will go to Rather Severe's time as well as all paint and supplies. It is important to use an artist who is not only a good muralist, but experienced with facilitating a community project. Another expense will be maintaining the mural over time as well as applying expensive anti-graffiti coating. With this comes a higher fee.

The project is on facebook! Find the page here . 

The project is officially endorsed by the Foster-Powell Neighborhood Association . The process for approval by the city and parkboard couldn't be started until artwork was submitted and is now pending. We are still waiting for formal parkboard approval. In the unfortunate event that the mural does not happen for any reason, all money raised will be saved by the Foster-Powell Neighborhood Association and will go towards another mural or public art in Foster-Powell. 

The building where the mural will be painted overlooks a baseball field and is the focal point of the park.

Questions or comments about the project? Email me at elliewink@gmail.com.

Thank you so much! Any contribution would be greatly appreciated. By donating, you are helping to make Essex Park a place that is warm, safe, and inviting to all people. 

~Ellie Russell
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The mural is finished! Isn't it beautiful? The project was a huge success. Thank you again to all donors and everyone involved! Visitors to Essex Park can now circle around a work of art that is positive and cheerful.

Let's celebrate! Everyone is welcome at the Essex Park Mindful Mural Celebration. It will be this Saturday, October 6 from 1-2:30PM. Meet at the mural and take in it's beauty. We'll have ice cream and other kids activities. This is a great time to see the mural in person if you haven't yet. See you then!
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DAYS 4&5:
What a weekend! We gathered with Marysville students, parents, and neighbors to bring the mural to life with color. Up to 100 people came throughout the weekend to paint or say hello. Jon and Travis of Rather Severe were very patient with painters of all ages and they always made sure everyone was setup with a shape and a paint color. Saturday's short downpour didn't stop the fun and the pizza at lunchtime was delicious. Sunday's sunny skies brought out many new and familiar faces. Friends and neighbors basked together in the park's new beauty.

Two TV news stations, KOIN6 and KGW8 came to the mural sight and interviewed us yesterday! That was exciting. Has anyone seen the mural on either of these stations?

The mural is almost finished! Today and tomorrow, Jon and Travis will clean up the black lines and do some touch-up. Then, a high quality anti-graffiti coating will be applied by a city employee.

Remember to keep your eye on the facebook page Essex Park Mindful Mural Project where there are many more pictures and updates! Here, check out this time-lapse video which is from a 2-hour period from Saturday.

Thank you to everyone who came out and participated! This project was once beyond my wildest dreams and now it is a reality. Feeling proud... of all of us.

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DAY 3: Jon and Travis were at the park all day today and they finished outlining ALL of the shapes. It looks absolutely beautiful!

This weekend they will paint in all of the colors with Marysville students and community members. You are invited to come and paint! Stop by and get in on the action on Saturday or Sunday from about 10AM to 4PM. It will be fun!

Maybe you aren't aware, but the Essex Park Mural is a 360 degree work of art that continuously wraps around four walls. How amazing is that?!

Also, do you know about the facebook page called Essex Park Mindful Mural Project? Be sure to follow that page for updates and many more photos!
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Day 2: The mural was primed with white paint yesterday. Today, the artists spent the day outlining a lot of the shapes. Tomorrow they'll finish the outlining. Everything is on track!
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$3,719 of $4,000 goal

Raised by 66 people in 14 months
Created May 23, 2018
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