Placemaking in Southtown

On Sunday July 28th, after months of planning and design, a community street mural was painted at the intersection of Lilly Ave. and Bethel St. in south Corvallis. The work was completed by over 40 volunteers from the community. This mural is only the second street mural painted in Corvallis and the first to go through the brand new City process for Intersection Paintings. A small team of neighbors led by local teaching artist Diana Ryan and Living South Town Community Organizer Rebecka Weinsteiger worked together with the City as well as the neighborhood at large to make this project happen. The project was inspired by the JANA Street Mural of 2017 (on 11th and Taylor St). This placemaking mural project will be featured at Open Streets, a free street festival on August 18th, 2019 that encourages active transportation and engages the community to create spaces where people want to walk, bike and play. In its third year, Open Streets will happen between two parks in high-density, low-income and working class neighborhoods: Lilly Park and Tunison Park.

Finished Street Mural designed by Diana Ryan, local teaching artist and South Town resident. “After being involved with the street mural of 2017, I was inspired and excited to have the opportunity to design and organize a mural on my street. I use the route to bike my kids to and from school every day.”

Our project goals when proposing the Lilly and Bethel Street Mural were neighborhood engagement, beautification and placemaking. The street mural is titled “Lily and Bluebirds” and was designed by local teaching artist Diana Ryan who runs an art studio adjacent to her home just down the street from the mural on Bethel St.

In planning the design for the street mural, I used natural imagery in a colorful and playful way to celebrate place and diversity.  

The project goals were achieved with a fantastic turn out of volunteers of all ages that helped with the painting as well as passers-by that stopped to engage and watch the painting process. The new street mural enhances the neighborhood and beautifies the commute for many walkers, bikers, buses and drivers. After the painting was completed, neighbors celebrated by having a neighborhood potluck in Lilly Park as they waited for the paint to dry.

The painting team was super grateful to be fueled by donations from Tried & True Coffee Co.First Alternative Natural Foods Co-op and New Morning Bakery and the project would not have been possible with out the support of the City of Corvallis Neighborhood Empowerment Grants program which funded the materials!

The Open Streets event on August 18th will be another great opportunity for people to view the new street art while celebrating community.

The most rewarding aspects of the project were hearing people’s enthusiasm and support for the project and getting the community involved in the painting itself. One neighbor remarked at how lucky he is to have the street mural going on so close to his house and how his daily life will be uplifted by it, like it was painted just for him. That’s the beauty of this neighborhood street mural; it is for everyone. I enjoyed getting people of all ages involved and reinforcing the fact that this art is about community and everyone can be a part of the painting. The project was very successful and rewarding and I look forward to being reminded of my own pride in place each time I see it!  – Diana Ryan 

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