Public Painting Project Aims to Paint the Town
new project will help artists, support mural creation across Eau Claire
Eau Claire visitors and natives alike have been taken with downtown’s newest mural, “Sanctuary,” on the side of The Fire House. Now, the artist, Sylvia Annelise Hecht, has paired up with another artist, Jo Ellen Burke, to create the Public Painting Project (PPP), advocating for public art and local artists in the Chippewa Valley.
Burke, a longtime Eau Claire resident, began working with Hecht last year to advocate for public art, or as she puts it, “the soul of the community.”
Their plan for the PPP involves workshops for groups of 15-20 artists, instructing them on both creating mural art and marketing it. At the end of the two-part workshop, the artists will have created a mural together.
I’m really into the ideas of dissolving the boundaries between art and real life. Art shouldn’t be reserved for just galleries, they should be public, things that inspire other people’s art.
SYLVIA ANNELISE HECT
PUBLIC PAINTING PROJECT
Next, the PPP aims to create a database of mural artists along with businesses and groups interested in mural sites, acting as the go-between to reduce costs for mural creation and ensure fair compensation for artists – $20 per square foot.
“The ongoing creation of mural art is really important for our community’s growth and structuring community identity, both in honoring Eau Claire as it is and its history, but also bringing it into the larger world and pitching it as a tourist and public art destination,” Hecht said. “Making the city more beautiful but also creating a city that reflects its community.”
Burke echoed these sentiments: She was president of the Eau Claire Public Arts Council (now part of Visit Eau Claire), and said her experiences on the council reinforced her belief that art is the soul of a community. Fostering public art and supporting the artists that do it, then, is vital, Burke said.
Hecht and Burke look forward to making the Public Painting Project a sustainable effort with funding for artists and murals to continue over the years, as well as establishing regular, yearly workshops – all to get more artists working and creating more murals across Eau Claire.
“I’m really into the ideas of dissolving the boundaries between art and real life,” Hecht said. “Art shouldn’t be reserved for just galleries, they should be public, things that inspire other people’s art. Experiencing beauty and being a creator of beauty really aren’t that different. It’s about recognizing our own creative nature and trying to bring that into everyday life as much as possible.”
The Public Painting Project is on GoFundMe at Public Painting Project Mural Fund.