The Writing On The Wall: Artists Ask Community To Contibute To Interactive Mural

Jul 27, 2017

The medium is impermanent but the artists and organizers behind the Community Interactive Mural project hope its imprint lingers.

The ever-changing mural is up inside Frog Hollow Vermont Craft Center on Burlington's Marketplace through July.

Each Wednesday and Friday evening for a few hours during the month-long project, Vermont artists Tara Goreau and Jess Polanshek gather up colorful chunks of chalk and get to work turning the community's thoughts into art.

Rob Hunter, Frog Hollow's director, recently spoke with VPR about the interactive exhibit.

"Their styles are dramatically different. You definitely see that in the chalk creations that they're making. But then you see how they're utilizing these common messages and it's really just a joy to watch." - Frog Hollow director Rob Hunter

Hunter said Frog Hollow is working with The WaterWheel Foundation, which is sponsoring the project. The foundation was created in 1997 by the band Phish as a means to work on charitable activities.

To create the proper canvas for its murals, the gallery first covered some of its wall space and separate panels with chalkboard paint, then solicited subject matter from the public.

Frog Hollow asked passers-by and gallery-goers for their thoughts on community, neighborhood, eradicating hunger, the health of our waterways and more.

The thoughts and ideas were captured on one blackboard, then artists Goreau and Polanshek used other blackboard as their temporary palettes, and turned the public's thoughts into elaborate chalk murals.

Every week, Hunter said the walls and panels are erased, a new set of comments and ideas are gathered from the community and the artists get to work illustrating a brand new mural.

Of washing away hours of interactive art, Hunter said the process is actually, "liberating." He said he sees it as a reminder of the ever-changing quality of communities and the possibilities change can bring.

"And always looking forward is another really positive message ... [community] engagement is really what we're hoping to nurture ..."

The chalk murals will remain up throughout the month of July at Frog Hollow gallery on the Church Street Marketplace.