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The second in a series of murals painted by GFU students is a nod to the city's artistic sensibilities

PMG PHOTO: GARY ALLEN - A cadre of George Fox University students have created a mural on the face of the Newberg Public Library annex building.

Standing out under the summer sun near Newberg's hub of arts and culture, a new mural was completed earlier this month by a group of George Fox University students.

In collaboration with local Rotary clubs, four students painted the mural on the wall of the library annex, across the street from the front entrance of the Newberg Public Library and near the Chehalem Cultural Center. The mural depicts a variety of artists and those who seek to enjoy them, all surrounding the bright glow of the sun.

This mural was the second created by GFU students in partnership with Rotary in the past few years. The first was on the side of Steve's Auto Body on Hancock Street in 2018; this mural originally was supposed to be completed in 2019.

"Interns" tasked with painting the mural included Megan Nipp, Tyler Friesen, Josie Duff and Sarah Ellis.

"After designing the mural, we went through a series of city committees and applications before we could actually do the painting," Nipp said. "It was difficult because the building was owned by the city, so the process took awhile, but it was worth the wait in the end. It was supposed to be painted last summer but got pushed back because of a number of different factors.

"Rotary is really passionate about the mural project and wanted it to be something that the town can enjoy. It makes Newberg more of a unique and special place, and the goal is to keep going with these projects every year to dazzle up the city. It beautifies the community."

Students went through an interview process before being selected to paint the mural, and after jumping over miles of red tape to get permission to paint a city-owned building, they completed the project earlier this month. The paint is dry, and the impression is striking as one strolls past the area near the library and cultural center.

After creating the design as part of a collaborative project, Nipp and her classmates worked for a full week on the painting aspect, she said. They borrowed some scaffolding through their Rotary connections, which was necessary to paint the entirety of a wall that is up to 28 feet high in its tallest spot.

The result is something the group is proud of.

"The overarching theme of the mural is 'The Art of Newberg' embodied by the variety of figures engaging in literature, family, dance, visual art and musical arts," Nipp said. "The figures in the design represent the diversity, service, joy and community found in the art of Newberg. The geometric background and bright color palette was to embrace the playfulness found in art. The triangle pattern creates unity in the composition of the mural, which reflects the connectedness of the community in Newberg. The organic freedom of the background represents the Oregon landscape in an abstract manner."

More than just artwork intended to be eye-catching and represent what is great about Newberg and the state, the students want it to raise Newberg's profile as well and be something that people notice at large-scale events often held in the area. When those events return after the COVID-19 pandemic is over remains to be seen, but the mural will be there whenever that may be.

Nipp said there is a greater significance to pieces like the mural she and her classmates created.

"I think public art is really important in a community because it brings people together," Nipp said. "It's something the entire community shares, and it's our job as artists to be part of the community. I think that's how the entire team felt about this project."

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