Group effort: Local artists begin work on new mural in downtown Hillsboro
Last year's ambitious Frida Project saw an intriguing collaboration between Hillsboro's M&M Marketplace owner Jaime Miranda, artist Linda Holland and other local artists in the form of painted panels that aimed to bring together two cultures in honor of renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.
Noted as a huge success, all ten of the panels are in the process of being installed in the Walters Cultural Arts Center, along with paintings from each artist involved.
"I didn't expect it to be such a big thing," said Holland.
She's now in the process of working alongside artists on a new project — a new mural on the side of Joe's Pastime Tavern in downtown.
Holland has wanted to do a mural somewhere in Hillsboro for a long time, but got bogged down in "red tape" and things became complicated.
"This time around, I started writing grants for the mural, but ended up not getting them," she said. "But the Tuesday Night Market gave me $1,500 and told me to do it anyway. It's not quite enough, but we're going for it."
In her free time, Holland enjoys creating art of her own. With over 30 years of experience with painting, her watercolor artwork gained popularity with a series of dragon and baby paintings and she went on to portraitures and kindred depictions.
But throughout the periods of painting different subjects she continued painting vivid florals. Every week, for the Tuesday Night Market, she invites other local artists to display, teach and get event-goers involved in the art process.
The new mural project, which will be painted across ten aluminum foam core panels by different artists, carries the theme of anything that reminds the artists of Hillsboro. And that means quite literally anything, not just landmarks.
Joshua Gundersen, who recently began work on the first panel used some splashy colors, and painted three huge strawberries.
Gundersen said he drives by strawberry fields every day and sees how Hillsboro is still closely connected to its agricultural roots.
"The fruit means a lot to people here in Hillsboro," said Holland. "The old-timers made money by picking strawberries. Priscilla Decker, a friend of mine, owns a strawberry farm near Scholls Ferry."
For this venture, Holland picked local artists that she recognized or knew, and discussed the theme with them. From there, she's aiming to let them choose what they want to paint.
"I'm planning to paint Hondo Dog Park for my panel," she said. "That dog park is very special to me, and a lot of people in the area."
Although Holland has found every aspect of the project challenging, one of the bigger feats to overcome lies in the size of the panels. Each one is eight feet tall and four feet wide, which means every artist will have to use a ladder to fully complete their work.
They also had to get a sign-off from the building's owner, Gene Zurbrugg, who eagerly signed, and promised to maintain the mural for the next five years. Filling out paperwork has been tedious for Holland, to say the least. "I'm not writing another grant unless I can do it with a paintbrush," she said.
Some other artists helping are Bruce Reed and Elina Zeberg, who has painted a couple of murals in Forest Grove.
Holland and company plan to unveil the mural on Tuesday, Oct. 10, just in time for October Arts Month. They'll keep it covered and serve refreshments to keep things interesting.
"I'm excited to have it done, but the most excitement came from this thing even happening in the first place," said Holland.
She's also looking forward to next year, which will be the Tuesday Night Market's 20th anniversary.
"I usually just plunge into these projects and start something, and usually it ends up okay," she said. "I don't have an exact idea of what the mural will look like, but every artist involved has a unique style, and I'm looking forward to seeing what we'll end up with."