Thursday, June 6, 2019

Community Mural Forum Report Back

On Sunday May 19, from 1-5pm the Tucson Arts Brigade hosted a Community Mural Forum to discuss what a future citywide mural program could look like. Over 50 people from throughout Tucson participated in this lively discussion.

Clearly there is a desire to see a City Wide Mural Program to curate, steward and maintain a culturally equitable  Outdoor Gallery of Murals, and a robust employment program that Hires Artists to Work in School, Neighborhood,  Community Centers and Other Places. We want to see the arts as the central component of City of Tucson development policies, not merely decorative “garnish”. 

Tucson Arts Brigade was formed in 1996, creating over 100 murals and distributed over  $300,000 to artists working in schools, community centers, and other places. Demonstration  program such as the Downtown Mural Program29th Street , Barrio Centro, Miracle Manor,
Amphi Action Mural and others typify the programs we are seeking.

During the forum we asked our attendees these three questions:  
  1.    How has the mural program impacted the city? 
  2.    What worked well in the mural program, what can be improved?
  3.    Where will you take the mural movement from here? 
Their answers to these questions are written in this document, and included strong concerns  for marketing, fundraising, community outreach, and the common threads listed below.

A Mural Task Force was formed, and will begin meeting on a regular basis this Fall. (2019). All are welcome to join this group.

The Forum concluded with a Mural Tour of the recent works created Downtown, led by the artists themselves.

Common Threads:
  •     Neighborhoods History Murals
  •     Marketing and Publicity for Murals
  •     Programs and Workshops for Schools and Neighborhoods
  •     Artists Under 30 Fund
  •     Increased Community Involvement
  •     Free Wall
  •     Mentorships
  •     Funding for a City Wide Program
  •     Location Apps
  •     Mural Preservation and Maintenance
  •     Need to Reform Administrative Policy 7

City of Tucson Mural Program
Tucson Arts Brigade
City of Tucson Pilot Mural Arts Program

Question 1:  How has the mural program impacted the city?
  •         The works are iconic, they attract many visitors to the city.
  •         The works help local artists gain more recognition.
  •         Murals inspire other artists.
  •         Ignacio’s mural for example transformed the alley into an interesting and visitable
  •         place, so the murals can be used to better places and make places more inviting,
  •         changes the reputation of an area.
  •         Nobody knows of (mural) program: need to increase marketing for the program.
  •         Politics can exist within city art.
  •         Murals can depict local history.
  •         Used for storytelling.
    Question 2: What worked well in the mural program, what can be improved?

        “Arts” as a career seems possible to new generation.
        Emotional reactions to the art: Kids and adults show excitement and enthusiasm
        Ripple effect: Participants, artists, visitors
        Alley has been transformed
            Murals bring history and better reputation to neighborhoods
        Door to smaller artists is a bit more closed
        Smaller artists deserve exposure
        Diversity in funding sources
        Productivity occurs even when unpaid
        Private projects open to community participation
        Need more publicity
            Publicize through website map, add background information on the murals
            Art that already exists deserves more background information

 Question 3: Where will you take the mural movement from here? 

            Vandalism, insurance, knowing location apps
                Fund mural shield (protective UV top coat
                Create phone Apps to link artists to each other
            Great artists don’t get chosen, which is a shame because their art deserves to be seen
            Allow newer artists to be included
                Proposal workshop, percent of mural funding for novice artists
                A set amount of funding to novices
                Inclusion of more simple, less-skillful murals and professional works
            Public art is very limited, processed through known artists
            Artists should be able to pick their own locations
                Many don’t know their locations before creating design
        Marketing, make these art movements more promoted
        How does this specific group aid these other programs?
            Collaboration between mural programs?
        Add mural lights, draw more attention to murals
        The problem with the Phili methods: we’re not motivated by the same events
            But we are motivated by the border issue, and kids incarcerated, and neighborhoods
        Relying on the city and government to find or approve isn’t always necessary
        VARA-some are protected some are not
        Recognize that young people can create high quality art
            Set aside funding for all artists under 30
        Importance of Outreach
            High schools
            Disadvantaged communities
            At risk youth
            Get community involved in creation of murals
            Create map of city murals
        Role in educating community about history
            Site specific so it speaks to location of art
       Don’t want commercialization
    Where will you take the mural movement from here?
        Parachute cloth
            The Phili Method: teach artists (over 3-10 years) how to paint on “parachute cloth”
             - while this costs twice as much as a normal mural, and requires specialized training.
             You can create murals in places such as prisons and hospitals, where you normally
            cannot paint murals.
        Designating neighborhoods as mural dense areas
        Bring murals and mural arts education to schools
        In combination with beautification efforts (ex, collaborating with Tucson Clean and
        Beautiful, Living Streets Alliance, and others)

i.) Bringing art to disadvantaged communities 

        Establish a free wall for public art like an outdoor studio that can be used by all
            Desigsated space for painting with no approval necessary
        Collaboration within communities
        Mentorships for younger muralists
        Create mural plaques, generate more publicity on the web.
        Maintenance- use the new product “mural shield” to protect the murals from harmful
        UV rays over an extended period, or restore old murals.
        Improving mural maps
        New murals at places like the airport.

        Photographing murals for any publications.
        Create mural workshops; publicize annual mural arts training.
        Site specific designs that relate to local histories.
        Diversity of “type” of murals (ex. abstract, representational, narrative, political, etc.)
        Publicity- ex. articles in “Visit Tucson” & real estate magazines.
        Identify funding for murals for underserved neighborhoods.
        Advertise the cause of work behind and purpose of murals.
        Involve youth high school and youth detention centers; use it help others in more ways.
        Update QR codes to give information on artists, art, bio and cause
        (see TAB QR code murals).
        Involve history and culture in imagery.
        Use murals to give a sense of history to our southwest, architecture, specific events.
        An invitation to get neighborhoods to make their own art, more community involvement
        (with the artists they want).
        Get them (Visit Tucson) to advertise our artists outside of Tucson, to promote tourism.
        Using the Renaissance to reinvigorate old arguments for the arts (for example,
        the argument between line and form).
        Clear instructions on how to apply to be a muralist in Tucson.
        Workshops on how to propose, present and show their work for nervous artists that
        lack experience.
        Getting school and neighborhood groups to create their own programs - teaching them
        how to plan, procure, and create their own murals.

Additional Notes Ideas

    A designated space for art that does not require city or business approval- giving artists freedom and flexibility (free wall concept)
    Provide artists site details prior to designing the mural
 Promoting a personal, historical, or cultural piece
    Focus on mentoring youth, disadvantaged and segregated
     populations; ways to get their artistic voices amplified.
    Make the process simpler for busy people.
    Understand the ripple effect and its power to enact change.
    Bring murals, muralists, and the process to schools.
    Bringing the programs that lacked interest and
    participation back now that the community is
    coming back to life (take advantage of an upswing of interest in the arts).
    How can we brand our project? How do we integrate mural programs in the city of Tucson
    Not bury or be buried, but co-facilities our work to be seen a whole. Community by the public
    (but without letting them take our donations/funding).
        Information on restoring art and murals, maybe a public fund
    “Find a wall and make it happen = individual efforts are powerful as well.
        Ripple effect: seeing artists in action inspires people;
        Murals change a space: ex: Pinatas Running Mural transformed an alley that was dark
        into something vibrant.

    Community Aspect

Bringing murals that invite everyone, not just one artist. (“Hey can I paint there” “yes you can paint here” : type of mindset)
Share artists’ names more prominently.
Designating Neighborhood:
        Sprucing up areas during renovation efforts.
        History and political murals: so much more these murals can do.
 Brainstorm more ideas for fundraising.
    How do we maintain murals?
        Mural Shield.
        Restoring murals, repainting murals.
        VARA (Visual Artists’ Rights Act: some artists waive their rights).
    Bringing back mural program like in high schools that have fallen off the map.
    Tradition of doing this work: let’s bring it back.
    Issue of marketing. Better marketing efforts.
    Murals overall vs. mural program.
    How do we collaborate around town to benefit our community as a whole?
    Create a mural district?
    Connect all artists  - how do we do this?
    Important to support local artists.
    Mountain Ave- using this for history (murals) could be a place for field trips
        Using homes in neighborhoods.
    It’s hot here so people like to walk at night, lighting certain murals can allow them to view
    murals at night.
    Issues of Funding: promoting arts as something our community really values to receive grants.
    More Social Issues depicted in murals.
    More High School Involvement.
    Looking for opportunities to paint murals on the bike paths (Tucson Bike Loop).
    More services to Disadvantaged Communities.
    Web And Mural Map: include background information and data (about each mural)
    Smartphone App to find murals.
    Role of murals in education: History for example: Santa Rita Orchestra, History of
    Amphi Schools, Santa Rita, collaboration with schools, arts groups, private sector to
    create mentorships.
  Try to avoid commercialization, be aware of placement.
    Neighborhood Murals= Community Building.

New Ideas:

  • Free Walls - city doesn’t have to approve, private walls, soap box.
  • Learn more about Public Art Approval process (Policy 7)

Notes assembled and edited by Alyssa Magilaro and Emma Knapp