Natalie Curtis had a daunting assignment this summer: design and complete a mural to cover the side of the Buchanan Center for the Arts that faces the library. Her "canvas" was around 100 feet long and 35 feet tall – a bit more than 4,000 square feet according to Curtis.
She was thrilled with the opportunity.
“I got to paint every day, which is a really awesome way to live, especially throughout the summer,” said Curtis, who served the past few months as the Buchanan Center’s artist-in-residence.
"But maybe the best part about it was being out here in the alleyway and watching the community walk past and get excited about things, and watching little kids point out different parts of the mural and talk about it.”
The mural is a collage that celebrates the arts through the depiction of various arts-related images. It also celebrates the history of the building, which at one time was a library. And Curtis said the depiction of a few apples commemorates the time when the location was an apple orchard.
“The project was meant to be for the community, as part of the community, and about the community. And I think we really achieved that,” said Curtis. “This has been an awesome experience.”
She said 30 volunteers put in around 200 hours helping out. She said she used ladders, platforms, and a forklift to reach every part of her canvas.
Curtis is deciding what to do next now that she has completed the residency. She graduated from Monmouth College in December, 2018 with degrees in math and art.