Mural project to showcase Vicksburg, as well as community art in area
Published 10:00 am Saturday, January 19, 2019
Albert Einstein once said, “Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.”
Inspiring words spoken by the German-born theoretical physicist.
The phrase is also fitting for one of Vicksburg’s newest endeavors — the Wings on Washington Murals Project.
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Spearheaded by Morgan Van Horn, the project is set to showcase a variety of community art.
“This is your chance to literally paint the town,” said Van Horn, a former AmeriCorps member who said she moved to Vicksburg after falling in love with the city.
Van Horn said the idea to add more murals to the downtown area came about while exercising downtown.
“I noticed the potential for murals in the alleyway of the Margaritaville parking garage,” she said.
And from there the idea of the WoW Murals Project — designed to showcase cultural aspects of Vicksburg and/or the state of Mississippi while also fostering social and urban regeneration — was born.
“Community art is a tool to engage newcomers, such as myself, local artists, organizations and people of different backgrounds to the historical and cultural significance of Vicksburg,” Van Horn said. “Art also creates urban renewal, attracts tourists, strengthens communities, contributes to local businesses and ultimately connects the relationship between the cultural activity.”
While Vicksburg is rich in people who embrace culture and art, Van Horn said another added bonus of Vicksburg is the number of buildings and scales to implement art downtown.
The WoW Murals Project will be located along the Margaritaville parking garage wall located near Gordon’s Alley.
“The alley is located right behind Jacques and Roca, and is accessible off of Clay Street,” she said.
For those interested in submitting an application for mural space, applications will be accepted through Jan. 31.
Applications are available at the HC Porter Gallery and Attic Gallery, both located on Washington Street, and online through the Facebook page “Wings on Washington Murals Project” or by email at Wingsonwashingtonmuralsproject@gmail.com.
Van Horn said submissions could consist of anything representative of the city or state, such as the state bird, cotton fields, gumbo or the Siege of Vicksburg.
“Be creative,” she said.
And those who submit an entry must either be a resident of Warren County or a native to the state of Mississippi.
Once submitted, Van Horn said, “Students from Warren Central High School will curate the applications to see if there are errors and to make sure the application is turned in completed with a sketch and accurate contact information as a part of their Community, Arts and Business Academy Project.”
“The WoW Murals committee will look over the completed applications for sketch quality regarding color/shading information, sizing, diversity and cultural significance(s),” Van Horn said. “The sketch is the most important piece of the application.”
The Board of Architectural Review will then approve the sketches, Van Horn said.
“Therefore the artist/community group must hand in a detailed and complete design for the mural,” she said.
The WoW Murals committee will then select eight artists, Van Horn said, who will move forward with the application process.
“Finally, I will propose the chosen applications/sketches to the city of Vicksburg and the city will last, seek final approval from the Board of Architectural Review to implement the murals in the historic downtown region,” Van Horn said.
One of the murals for the wall has already been determined and that is the sketch by Van Horn.
“It is a pair of wings, accessible to the public to take photos in front of such as the legendary wings in Nashville. Hence ‘Wings on Washington,’” she said.
This mural will be located on the tallest scale of the parking garage.
Van Horn, in addition to dedicating her time to the mural project, volunteers at WCHS and several local non-profits.
De’Kayla Shelby, a student at WCHS, said she plans to submit a sketch for the WoW mural project.
“I am doing this because I want to help spread positivity and equality for all,” Shelby said.
The senior art student said her entry would focus on inclusion of all people.
All artists chosen for the project will paint their own murals, Van Horn said.
Sherwin Williams, who will be serving as one of the sponsors for the project, will be donating primer for the wall and WCHS will provide painting materials.
Other people and groups, Van Horn said, have also expressed interest in donating to the project.
And while excited about this inaugural mural project, Van Horn said she is hoping it will also serve as a catalyst for further endeavors.
“There has been much talk on many levels of grassroots government and community sources of implementing art in the downtown district moving forward,” she said.
For more information on how to submit an application or how to donate to the WoW Mural Project, call 850-590-2062.