Urban ArtWorks

In the last couple months I got to work on something pretty darn cool and art related through my day job. I met and contracted with ArtWorks to solve a graffiti problem on one of the buildings I'm managing. It's an old brick building in Pioneer Square that served as a plumbing warehouse back in the day.

Now, you may or may not know that removing graffiti from brick is incredibly difficult and expensive. And the City of Seattle requires landlords to immediately remove graffiti - within 48 hours or something ridiculous and superhero-esque. Yikes! On a building where you can just paint over graffiti that is no problem. But on brick? Huge pain.

So an alternative plan was needed and in comes ArtWorks.

ArtWorks is a non-profit organization that works with at-risk youth to empower them within the arts by working on public mural projects. Their work has been cropping up all over Seattle since 1995 apparently - but I first took notice a year ago when I saw these incredible painted panels hung on a construction fence downtown near the Central Library. It was such a lovely thing to see art along the sidewalk instead of a drab plywood fence shielding the site.

At first I thought that perhaps it was some artist group just trying to get their work out there. Turns out I was right - but ArtWorks took it a step further by being an arts group mentoring youth to get their work out there. Many of the youth that end up in the program have been prosecuted for tagging - ArtWorks gives them an artistic outlet that is public and legal. I was impressed and may even end up volunteering for them sometime soon.

And needless to say I was thrilled when I got to head up a project with them through work. The mural above is my favorite of 8 murals we commissioned for our building. Here is another one:

On Friday I ended up spending the majority of the workday out on site coordinating the installation of all 8 murals. Each one consisted of four 8 foot panels that we had to place, align, mount and anchor. It was also totally up to me to figure out how to space the murals around the building which was more difficult than I thought it would be!

You would think 8 16 foot murals would fill a space pretty well but I was astounded just how small they all looked once we got them all up - as you can see!

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