This summer I am painting a mural on a 14' x 100' cinder block wall for non-profit, The Government Hill Commons (GHC). The GHC is a community led project in which a orchard and garden will be planted on a vacant lot located on the west end of the residential area of Government Hill. The GHC is an experimental community garden located in an unusually warm micro-climate. The newly planted apple, pear, peach and cherry trees are already producing abundant fruit.
I was tasked to create a design that observed the mission of the project and the long history of Government Hill. GH is one of Anchorage's oldest neighborhoods, a community perched on a hill with an eagle eye view of downtown Anchorage, a mix of historical homes and buildings, low income housing alongside a Spanish immersion elementary school and flanked by the Alaska Railroad, the Ship Creek Industrial Area, the Anchorage Port and in its backyard the towering radio towers of ATT, as well as the mighty JBER Elmendorf Air Force Base.
I wanted to create a design that represents this plucky diverse community and found inspiration in the plants around me. These are the plants poking up through sidewalk cracks, in vacant lots, the trees pushing up through the rusty refuse car yards in Ship Creek, the tenacious plants we call weeds. Weeds are global, familiar and recognizable, a perfect counterpoint to the cultivated garden and orchard of the Commons.
Government Hill is all of these things, beauty, history, order, decay, growth, the organic and the industrial. This mural design represents the stubborn and unshakable spunk of this diverse community alongside the inspirational beauty and order of the Commons.
This is a work in progress, weather depending, to be finished before snowfall. The design process involved many long walks photographing of weeds, the creation of large scale stencils and a snap line grid design transfer system.
More mural updates to come. Many thanks to the Atwood Foundation for a grant funding this project.
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