“The word interactive has come to be so closely associated with technology and apps that it has become easy to forget the joys of being interactive people,” says Soldotna Rotary Club president Marcus Mueller. “Bring the joy of being an interactive person close to home with Paint & Pen the Kenai Community Mural Project where you get to enjoy the art, pick the one you like best and interact with your vote.” Mueller interacted with about a hundred community members who turned out for the opening reception of the summer art show at the Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center (KVCC) May 2nd. “Want more, nominate a location for the mural go and vote on that too,” challenged Mueller.
The first of three rounds of voting is now open at KVCC until June 14th. Choose your favorite from the 24 different mural designs that were produced by Peninsula artists for the Peninsula community. The second round of voting, choosing from the top 12, will be held from June 15th to July 26th. The final round, selecting from six resonating ideas, will be from July 27th to August 31st. Then an auction fundraiser event is scheduled for September 7th where people will have the opportunity to bid on the artwork to raise funds for the constructing the mural. The mural design chosen by peninsula residents through the voting process will be announced at the fundraising event. “The Soldotna Rotary Club will be taking location nominations at a Kiosk which will be set up at the Kenai Visitors Center Art Show exhibit hall. Community members will be able to share their ideas for the prime location for the outdoor mural to be located,” said Mueller.
Property owners and public officials are also invited to offer their spaces for a 12’ x 24’ community mural. “As the community’s mural: a publically viewable space is a must. Nominations for locations will be received at the Kenai Visitors Center, evaluated to ensure sites meet the basic criteria for the project, and will be subject to the support of the property owner. 12 feet by 24 feet is a great space, but the mural will be painted on 4’x 8’ panels and framed, so it would be possible for the mural to go alongside a building or just be freestanding in a park. We are really excited to establish an inventory of publically important spaces through this process. It may even inspire property owners to consider adopting their own public art projects when they see the potential to share their space visually. People seem really adept at connecting to their community through public art that reflects human experience” said Mueller.
Voting on the possible location for the mural will start July 27th as part of the last round of voting. “The challenge was to make a mural interesting enough to the majority of Peninsula residents to reflect their life experiences here,” commented artist Sandra Sterling who submitted a mural rendering. The summer art show offers a lot more than portraits of the peninsula, there are stories and sentiments adorning the walls from peninsula writers who responded to challenge to “Pen the Kenai” and express in word or poetry life on the Kenai. “Started as a writing contest, Pen the Kenai compositions share poems, stories, and quips from the experiences of friends and neighbors. These are the kinds of stories that tell us more about ourselves as people of the peninsula: surrounded by creation, living here for our own reasons, in our own circumstances, tasting the bittersweet life that we live,” explained Mueller. One of the writings on display will be chosen to accompany the finished mural as a permanent inscription portraying life on the Kenai. Pick your favorite mural, poem or prose, place and enjoy the summer art show at KVCC and remember to bring a photo ID, voting is open only to Peninsula residents.