Our Community Art Project: A Flower Mural

Thank you so much to everyone who came out to the Asheville City Market on Saturday to celebrate our 8th birthday! We created this beautiful mural together! We love it, and we can’t wait to hang it in our studio.

One of the best parts of the day was watching so many people connect with a creative activity.  Most people needed no incentive to create, and they immersed themselves in a moment of paint and imagination. Others required a bit more coercion: we had tiny pastries to give to the artists, and the deal was, you had to paint a flower to get a pastry! After some thought, a few folks stepped up and surprised themselves with their creativity! And enjoyed a flaky treat in return.

The project also reminded me of the universality of flowers! We asked people to paint flowers, and everyone knew a flower! Each flower is unique, but everyone had a flower in their imagination. It’s amazing how connected to nature we remain as a species, even in the midst of modern life.

We will do this activity again for our 9th birthday, so if you missed it this year, please join us next year! With a little luck and providence, we’ll be back this time next year.

If you're looking to do a similar community art project, we used a piece of 5'x6' primed canvas that we got from the art supply store. We used two metal feet that normally support arbors, a couple of 2x4s and some big cardboard sheets to create an easel. We clamped the canvas to the easel and decorated with dried flowers. We provided acrylic paints, paint markers and brushes.

The night before, I painted the canvas with watered down paint to give it a colorful wash in off white, yellow and blue.

The acrylic paint we used was cheap surface primer. With more time, I might have looked for tempera paint, or a slightly nicer acrylic paint. I also would have experimented with watering down the acrylic paint just a little bit since it was hot outside and the paint got a bit gloopy sometimes.

We selected paints in a limited color palette that matched our branding, and I think that limited palette helped keep the result somewhat cohesive and pleasing despite all the different skill levels involved.

We dispensed the paints into plastic containers and had a big bucket of water and rags for clean up. I cleaned brushes throughout the day.

I did have some 2 inch brushes in the mix at the beginning of the project. I probably wouldn't do that again since big messes happen quickly with big brushes! And people create more thoughtful flowers with smaller brushes.

We asked everyone specifically to paint a flower, which I think is a very necessary part of the project! It was fun to see everyone's interpretation on the theme!


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