Main fundraiser photo

Essex Park Mindful Mural Project

Donation protected
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. 
Here 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.

In 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 [email redacted].

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


  • Jason Sajko
    • $100 
    • 6 yrs

Fundraising team: Ellie Holzemer Russell (4)

Ellie Holzemer Russell
Raised $20 from 1 donation
Portland, OR
Aron Goffin
Team member
Ellie Russell
Team member
Jeremy Russell
Team member
This team raised $3,699 from 65 other donations.

Your easy, powerful, and trusted home for help

  • Easy

    Donate quickly and easily.

  • Powerful

    Send help right to the people and causes you care about.

  • Trusted

    Your donation is protected by the  GoFundMe Giving Guarantee.