Local artists have turned 45 blank panels into what will be one of the largest pieces of public art on the island. The panels, combined, with be installed together, in a quilt-like design, outdoors at Open Space for Arts & Community (Courtesy Photo).

Local artists have turned 45 blank panels into what will be one of the largest pieces of public art on the island. The panels, combined, with be installed together, in a quilt-like design, outdoors at Open Space for Arts & Community (Courtesy Photo).

Mural at Open Space reveals a ‘backyard universe’ of art

This is a free public event, and the mural will remain open for the enjoyment of the community.

Almost two dozen local artists have contributed to a new public art installation on Vashon that will be unveiled this weekend at Open Space for Arts & Community.

“The Mural Project” began in the spring of 2020, when 21 island artists began work as part of the !Attention! Artists at Work jobs program created by Open Space for Arts and Community in partnership with Vashon Island Visual Artists (VIVA).

Islanders can see the completed mural for the first time at an unveiling ceremony at 1 p.m. Saturday, October 24, with limited parking in the viewing area available at a first-come, first-serve basis. Afterward, from 1:15 to 4 p.m., guests are invited to drive their vehicles through a viewing area to see the installation. Organizers ask that guests remain in their vehicles during their entire visit.

This is a free public event, and the mural will remain open for the enjoyment of the community.

“The Mural Project” was inspired by large public art murals of the early 20th century, as well as the AIDS quilt. Rather than one large painting, the Mural Project is a quilt of paintings, each as one-of-a-kind as our community.

The mural consists of 45 panels that are 32 inches square, forming a collage of island art. The 45 individual panels by 21 artists have been placed together on the entrance to Open Space for Arts and Community, and in total the new mural is more than 320 square feet.

The theme of the mural is “Backyard Universe.”

Open Space executive director Jiji Saunders spoke to the goal of the project, stating, “Investing in public art now will put food on artists’ tables, create public art for all islanders, and send a message to the future.”

The “Mural Project” was the first project of !Attention! Artists at Work. !Attention! Artists at Work (AAW) is a jobs program led by Open Space for Arts and Community in partnership with local nonprofit organizations. The goal of the program is to hire artists during the challenging economic environment that began this March.

So far, Open Space for Arts and Community has invested $40,000 and commissioned 60 Vashon artists and artisans to make free public art since Spring 2020, as part of the program.

Other AAW projects include “Distance Dance,” which is an ongoing series of physically distanced pop-up appearances on the island, as well as an upcoming “Winter Writing” project, which will begin taking submissions later next month. All projects sponsored through AAW are for the public and designed to be easily accessible to anyone on the Island.

Donations to continue growing the !Attention! Artists at Work jobs program can be made by visiting OpenSpaceVashon.com/support. More information is available at OpenSpaceVashon.com/attention-artists-at-work.


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