Urban Art in North Park


Art on a building still seems to sometimes catch you off guard. At first it seems like a juxtaposition to have a wall be anything more than bricks and beige paint, but the more
bland the original structure the more appropriate it is as a canvas. It is also transformative in the same way most public art is but with a much lower bar for entry. Sculpture can cost many thousands of dollars, whereas a building mural can be had for the cost of paint and an artist with the time to do it (I am not at all devaluing the time of a visual artist!).

As you walk around North Park there are numerous examples of buildings with murals, graffiti art and painted business signs already. With some encouragement, I think that through art, North Park could have an even more distinct identity than it already has. 
Multiple buildings covered in art on Mason
Street


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You may remember one of the posts I did about Portland Oregon last year and its Alberta Arts District. Originally, this was a marginalised part of Portland. Through a relaxation of feelings towards art on buildings and a large artist
Parking lot behind Welburns
population in the area, the neighbourhood was covered in art of all forms and it is now one of the must see areas of Portland. With art seeming to sneak up on you in unsuspecting places, walking along Alberta Street makes you happy and entices your senses. 


While replication can often come across as crass, I think that using the example of the Alberta Arts District as a possible direction for North Park is appropriate because on its own art has already spread all over the neighbourhood. 
Wildfire Bakery


In a few easy steps, North Park could take ownership of this. First there would have to be an identification of the area that should be part of the art district. This could be the whole neighbourhood or only specific hub areas. 

Second would be seeking support through the City for this arts district, which in turn the city could support through its powers. The City could easily encourage art on buildings through property tax rebates for art installations. Going forward the City could mandate that any new project in the area have a space for art on the building.  

I think that North Park is already one of the most interesting neighbourhoods in the city, with its diversity of building forms and uses. Taking the already growing amount of building art and deciding that it should not just be a small part of the identity of North Park could be the beginning of making the neighbourhood the single most interesting place in the whole city.



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