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Artists have tried to brighten up boarded storefronts on Foster Road; one from Woodstock is among them

DAVID F. ASHTON - Artist Michael Mad One Neely II showed THE BEE his first Foster Road installation - a collage honoring legendary Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. With the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis closing many storefront businesses along S.E .Foster Road, owners protected their businesses by boarding over their business' windows and doorways in April and early May.

However, those driving or walking the Foster Road neighborhood business district have been noticing colorful murals and unique artistic designs beautifying all the plywood. More than half a dozen muralists contributed their artwork, curated by artist who goes by "Borrowed Times", co-owner of the Idle Hands Collective, located at 6516 S.E. Foster Road. [See separate story.]

BECKY LUENING - Mayfair, a local artist who paints mostly on canvas, here was working on a mural on one of the boarded-up business fronts on S.E. Foster Road, just east of 65th Avenue. "We were fortunate to be allowed to paint permanent murals, because we're always painting over the vandalism; so why not beautify it by having permanent murals," remarked artist "Mayfair", as he worked on a Foster Road mural.

But not all the artists involved were based in Foster-Powell. THE BEE caught up with an artist in the project, Michael "Mad One" Neely II, who was working at his Woodstock neighborhood home studio.

Working on art for a new installation, "Mad One" said that Foster Road "looked daunting, sad, and depressing, with all of the shops that we frequent – the restaurants and bars we go to – shut down and boarded up; and 'Borrowed Times' asked if I would create art for a couple of boards.

"Then, other businesses started reaching out to the artists, asking us if we would paint their storefronts, also," Mad One said. "We've been doing as much as we can in our own free time, using our own supplies and our energy; it's a donation to the community, the way we look at it.

"We support these businesses, and in turn, they come back and support what we do – it's just really great!" Mad One said.

Learn more about the artists, online:

· "Mayfair" hosts a Twitter account – www.twitter.com/MayfairsArt

· About Idle Hands Collective – www.facebook.com/shopidlehandscollective

· See the work of "Mad One" – www.mad1art.com

[Becky Luening contributed to this story]


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