Downtown Kent just got a bit more colorful with the addition of two murals on exterior building walls.
The murals by Goettling and Shearer were selected by a city panel from among 54 applicants to the new Downtown Rotating Mural program, according to an email from Ronda Billerbeck, city cultural programs manager. The call was open to both emerging and established professional, practicing artists residing in Washington state and working in two-dimensional media.
“One of the things that drew the jury to both Nick’s and Ian’s artwork was that their pieces had the ability to be eye-catching at first glance (colorful, dynamic), and also contain detailed stories that allow viewers to discover something new each time they pass by and see the murals,” Billerbeck said.
A jury made up of one City Council member, one of the property owners, two Kent Downtown Partnership representatives, one professional artist and one city of Kent Arts commissioner completed an initial round of scoring, resulting in six finalists. The jury met again (via Zoom) and selected the proposals by Goettling and Shearer.
“The murals will remain in place for two years, at which point we plan to do another call for artists and commission new artworks,” Billerbeck said. “The Arts Commission sees this program as a way to keep fresh artwork in downtown Kent and to give more artists opportunities to get their artwork into the public art realm.”
Billerbeck said the mural program could expand.
“We’re also open to adding additional walls in the future if other property owners show interest,” she said.
Billerbeck said the mural project was conceived in collaboration with the Kent Downtown Partnership which provided valuable assistance as a liaison for the city with the two property owners.
Each artist received $5,000 for the artist fee, final artwork design, digital file preparation and applicable state sales/use tax. Printing and installation of the wall panels and vinyl wraps was covered separately by the City of Kent Arts Commission, which has been funded by the city since its creation in 1975.