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Street artists are bringing new life to boarded-up windows and buildings during the COVID-19 crisis.

It's spring, and bright colors dot the Portland landscape.

And now, more colors have sprouted that add life to urban neighborhoods. The sides of buildings and boarded-up windows have become the latest canvas for street artists taking advantage of the economic carnage left behind from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some businesses have closed temporarily, some could be shuttered permanently.



Either way, some businesses have given the green light to street artists — not to be confused with unauthorized graffiti taggers — to create murals and paintings at their locations as a way to beautify and symbolically display positivity and creativity in an oft-depressing scene.

Many of the artworks push the message of fighting the health and economic crisis and not giving up.

"These temporary murals are meant, first and foremost, to beautify the community and brighten people's day," said Tiffany Conklin, executive director of the Portland Street Art Alliance, a major player in the street art being produced around the city.

Some of the alliance's artists have contributed murals, other artists have been inspired by the alliance's work, while other businesses have simply enlisted artists to dress up the outside of their establishments.

Local street artists Fiber and Ekose have teamed with graphic artist David Da Costa on the PSAA's first boarded-up project on Tanker Bar and QuarterWorld Arcade on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard. The owner of the building offered the space for the artists, and awarded them with free gift cards as thanks.

Alliance artists are in the process of painting new temporary murals on Really Big Video in Northwest Portland, and Conklin said artists might have work going up on Communion clothing store on Southeast Hawthorne as well.

"We are aiming to help support struggling artists with this unique emergency program and ask owners to donate what they can to support the work," Conklin said. "All donations are provided tax-deductible receipts; some artists are open to trades, like services and gift cards to use once things open back up."

She said PSAA was inspired to see the work of Jesse Hazelip go up on Tattoo 34 on Hawthorne, the work of Borrowed Times and Mad One on Idle Hands Collective on Southeast Foster Road, as well as Jay Meericle's work at Cat's Paw Saloon on Southeast Division Street.

Many of the artists have posted photos of their work on Instagram and other social media platforms.

Even the Pearl District has been beautified with work by Anna Duvall and VMOVisuals at Low Brow Lounge.

Pamplin Media Group photographer Jonathan House traveled around the city last week to capture many of the murals.

The businesses have been shuttered to prevent vandalism and break-ins.

Information on the Portland Street Art Alliance's work can be found at http://www.pdxstreetart.org/articles-all/covid-19. Interested artists can sign up for the PSAA mailing list to receive future open calls to artists; interested property and business owners can email PSAA at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with photos of boarded-up windows and storefronts for possible art creations.


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