Essex Park Mural Project

$2,929 of $4,000 goal

Raised by 54 people in 1 month
Imagine color and cheer at Essex Park. This could happen - in the form of a mural! 

(Note: The art pictured above is NOT the art for the Essex Park Mural. It's part of another mural by the same artist.)

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.

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 beautiful weekend afternoon. Physical assault happened randomly to my nextdoor neighbor. 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. 

So, this past fall, I put together the pieces and applied for a grant to have a mural funded. Although I didn't get the grant due to it's competitive nature, I still found myself dreaming about changing the park. The mural still needed to happen. So here we are! With no grant money or major donors, we are fundraising from the ground up!

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. 

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  and people's eyes to a space. 

The mural will be painted in the fall of 2018. Artwork will go on the wall that faces the baseball field. Visible at a great distance, this wall is the face of the park. However, if we fundraise enough money and meet our goal, the mural can be on all four walls, wrapping around the entire building! This would be amazing, as the entire area surrounding this building is where positive energy is most needed in Essex Park.

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." 

Here are some examples of murals by Rather Severe.

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

The mural can also reflect elements of Essex Park as well as the community surrounding the park. Foster-Powell residents will be encouraged to contribute ideas through social media or a gathering to be determined. Neighbors may also be able to help paint. 

The Essex Park Mindful Mural Project is a 100% grassroots project that is only happening with donations by community members and local businesses. If we meet our fundraising goal of $4,000, the mural will expand to more than one wall, possibly circling all four walls of the small brick building!

Local Realtor John McKay  has contributed a $500 match of what the community donated has donated. Thanks, John McKay!

Nurture Realty  has offered to match up to $1,000 of community donations starting 6/27/18. Thanks Eric and Shanan at Nurture! 

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. While we are far along in the approval process through the city and the parkboard, the project cannot be formally approved until artwork is completed. In the unfortunate event that the mural does not happen due to lack of funds or another reason, all money raised will be saved by the Foster-Powell Neighborhood Association and will go toward a similar community improvement project.

I met with Marysville middleschoolers back in May to get their ideas about how a mural could be "mindful."

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

When you donate, feel free to leave a comment about what art elements you'd like to see. 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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Our amazing artists, called Rather Severe, are interested in painting ALL FOUR SIDES of the small brick building in Essex Park. This would be amazing! BUT, it will require more funding. I have increased our goal to $4,000! I believe we can do it! Here are some images of Rather Severe's artwork. Imagine something like this wrapping around the entire building....
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We are over halfway to our goal of $2500! Thank you to everyone who has donated.

I'm excited to announce that we have found an artist! Rather Severe, a duo of Portland muralists, is known for many high profile murals around town including the ones near the New Seasons on Woodstock.
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$2,929 of $4,000 goal

Raised by 54 people in 1 month
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