By Maggie Trovato
ELLSWORTH — Children, teens and adults ate, drank, laughed and listened to music. They also shared what they want to see on the huge, brick wall flanking Coastal Interiors at Heart of Ellsworth’s “Beyond the Brick Mural Kick-Off Community Party” last Saturday evening.
Seal Cove artist Judy Taylor, who was selected last November to head the Downtown Ellsworth Mural Project, was on hand at the party to hear people’s ideas and vision for the 3,000-square-foot brick wall made available by Coastal Interiors owner and designer Lori Chase. Taylor spent most of the evening painting portraits of those who attended the party.
Although she is still taking ideas from the public (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BeyondtheBrick), Taylor says the mural is going to be about activity.
“It’s going to be bright and light and uplifting,” Taylor said.
During the “Beyond the Brick” party, flyers with QR codes linked to a survey were posted for those gathered to express their ideas for the brick wall.
“What we’re really trying to do is get community feedback,” Cara Romano, Heart of Ellsworth’s executive director, said. “We’re trying to get folks to help shape the mural process because it is a community mural.”
Toward the end of the night, everyone gathered to watch a video projected on the wall. Produced by Good to Go Studio’s Kyle Lamont, the video highlighted locally created artwork and was set to music by Maine musicians.
Ruthie Harrison, a Biddeford resident who graduated from Maine College of Art & Design last spring, helped animate the art in the video.
“I basically took parts of different paintings and brought them to life,” she said.
Bringing the space to life is what Heart of Ellsworth hopes to achieve with this mural at 21 Water St.
“Public art really enlivens spaces that may be otherwise overlooked,” Romano said. “This really is trying to draw attention to the river and downtown in general.”
Taylor is slated to begin the mural in September. Romano said the project’s next phase will be selecting four Ellsworth High School students to assist the artist.
Getting Ellsworth students more involved in the community is something that Heart of Ellsworth has been working on. Last year, it appointed its first student board member, Darren Easler. Heart of Ellsworth gave Easler, who is headed to Northeastern University in the fall, the opportunity to get involved and organize projects.
This downtown mural project is already attracting the town’s younger residents.
Elizabeth Ford, who also attends Ellsworth High School, hopes to see a welcoming and positive mural cover the brick wall.
“I think there are a lot of messages you can portray through art,” Ford said. “I think it’s really important to get those out there to give people a way to express themselves.”
Heart of Ellsworth has raised about half of its $60,000 budget for the mural project. The organization is still taking donations. For more info, visit heartofellsworth.org.