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Crooked River Brewing's north-facing wall was chosen by Travel Oregon's new 'Only Slightly Exaggerated' mural campaign

JASON CHANEY - Portland-based mural artists Zach Yarrington (left) and Gage Hamilton paint a mural on the north-facing wall of Crooked River Brewing on Wednesday afternoon. The project was expected to be done on Friday.

A mural will soon grace the wall of a local downtown business.

Travel Oregon launched a campaign last spring called "Only Slightly Exaggerated," with the intent of showcasing illustrations that capture the feeling of being in Oregon. Starting this month, the campaign's artwork will be painted on walls in seven regions across the state, bringing the illustrations to the real world.

Crooked River Brewing was chosen as the outdoor canvas for Prineville, and work on the mural began this week with a completion date of Friday. Travel Oregon will then host ribbon-cuttings for each mural throughout October and host celebrations in several communities, including Prineville.

Kim Daniels, executive director of Prineville-Crook County Chamber of Commerce, said that the Central Oregon Visitors Association recommended the local community as a mural site after she had urged the organization to promote Prineville.

"When the artist and Travel Oregon came up with this campaign and said they were looking for communities, (COVA) was actually the one that pushed them to come to Prineville and consider us as a location for the mural."

When it came to specific locations for the artwork, Daniels said that she and other community leaders tried to come up with a location that was highly visible and saw heavy foot traffic.

"We considered one of the county buildings at one point, but ended up doing it at Crooked River Brewing."

The 25-foot-wide mural is getting painted from ground level to roof on the north-facing side of the building, which Daniels said is an optimal choice for the artists because it is free of vegetation and features a smoother surface than stucco or brick.

Portland-based artists Gage Hamilton and Zach Yarrington began work on the mural late Wednesday and continued painting Thursday with the hope of completing the artwork on Friday. It is the second piece the two have completed on the mural trail, the first completed last weekend in Oakridge.

"This is more of a fantasy-based one," Hamilton said of the local mural. "It's got these whales flying through the clouds, and there is a girl laying on a grass bed with wildflowers, looking up."

Travel Oregon works to enhance visitors' experiences in the state by providing information, resources and trip planning tools that are intended to inspire travel and consistently convey the exceptional quality of Oregon.

In partnership with the Oregon Cultural Trust, the organization is bringing the murals to each of Oregon's seven regions with Forest for the Trees, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the creation of contemporary public art and bringing artists together in collaborative settings.

The mural trail was developed to inspire Oregonians and explorers to get outside and experience the natural wonders of each destination, as well as generate a sense of community pride, economic development and continue to grow and cultivate arts and culture initiatives.

Not only does the Prineville community gain a new piece of prominently displayed artwork in its downtown core, it will benefit from its inclusion on the mural trail in other ways. The Travel Oregon team plans to build out earned media, social media, content and sales opportunities around the murals that may include behind-the-scenes type video of mural in progress, custom content about the communities behind the mural featured on TravelOregon.com and social channels, a map of mural locations across Oregon, and international itineraries that will feature the murals marketed and sold by tour operator partners.

Crook County Judge Seth Crawford, who has worked extensively with Travel Oregon during his time on the county court, is pleased to see that work bearing fruit.

"Having this mural in our community is a great opportunity to bring in people from all over the world to see Crook County, spend their money and then go home," he said.

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