The City of Portland’s Public Environment Management Office (PEMO) announces significant progress on one of its public space activation projects: supporting the creation of murals. The first four murals are located in the Cully, Parkrose, St. Johns, and Montavilla neighborhoods.
Each mural is a result of the collaboration between PEMO, the Portland Street Art Alliance (PSAA), and the individual artists involved. It not only beautifies the urban environment, but it also supports local businesses and artists. Furthermore, these murals serve as an attraction to increase foot traffic and patronage to nearby businesses.
The collaboration with the Portland Street Art Alliance has been instrumental in the project's success. PSAA's expertise in street art, combined with their deep connections within the artist community, has ensured that the murals resonate with the neighborhood's character while also showcasing the artists' unique styles.
“We believe strongly that direct investment in artists and artisans is essential for the future growth and sustainability of Portland. Muralists are on the street, every day, working to bring inspiration to the rest of us,” said Tiffany Conklin, PSAA Executive Director. “We appreciate the City of Portland’s efforts to support working artists as they strive to enliven the places that mean so much to all of us.”
PEMO operates under Mayor Ted Wheeler’s May of 2022 Emergency Declaration aimed at improving livability issues in Portland. The mural initiative is a part of a broader push by PEMO to broaden public space activation efforts to promote economic vitality, community safety, and maximize community use. These activation efforts have taken the shape of not only murals, but also lighting, landscaping, infrastructure improvements, general beautification, nuisance deterrence, and more.
Both PEMO and PSAA are looking forward to the continuation of the project, aiming to bring even more artistic flair to other areas of the city. The next mural project is planned for Northwest Portland, with more detailed information to follow soon.
All are encouraged to visit and experience these murals in person, appreciating the confluence of art, culture, and urban development.
For more information, please visit PSAA’s website, www.pdxstreetart.org.
Detailed information for each mural, provided by PSAA, is available below.
5135 NE 60th | Angel’s Food & Fun | Mural by Jose Solis
A new mural graces the side of Angel Food & Fun in the Cully Neighborhood, thanks to longtime Portland-based Mexican-American Artist Jose Jesus Solis (@jscreativeartstudio), and his assistant Jordan Jenner (@jordan.jenner.art).
The mural features scenes from the shop owner's home country of Vietnam. Mr. & Mrs. Mao escaped Vietnam during the war, making a new home here in Portland, where they raised their children and started a business. In their mural, they wanted to share scenes that reminded them of Vietnam, specifically the Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City. This central market is the symbol and soul of Saigon, with over 1,500 vendor booths.
The Mao’s also wanted to highlight non-motorized modes of transportation, like rickshaws and bicycles, flower motifs, and women wearing traditional dress; a silk tunic called ‘Ao Dài.’
Jose has been creating murals and hand-painted lettering across the Portland area for the last 40 years. He is excited for the opportunity to add his signature art to his neighborhood and brighten his community.
10505 NE Sandy | Sandy O’s | Mural by Bryan Walton
The new mural in the Parkrose neighborhood at 10505 SE Sandy was painted by Bryan Walton (@brayniac). Inspired by the shared mascot of the neighborhood’s high school and middle schools: a horse. With its bold graphic style, Brayniac executed his largest commissioned mural to-date using all spray paint.
The new owner of the building and business, Sandy O’s, wanted to acknowledge the hard work of local students. A horse with a garland of roses (as a champion horse might don after a race) was chosen for the mural's focal point. Also showcased are some familiar Portland flora and fauna; roses and two beautiful butterfly vases on each side of the horse.
8621 N Lombard | Great North Coffee | Mural by Alicia Shultz
Illustrator & Muralist, Alicia Shultz (@vineandthistle), completed a new mural on the south wall of Great North Coffee in the heart of St. Johns. Titled “Wandering in Forest Park,” the art was inspired by a hike Alicia took through Forest Park with this project in mind.
The mural includes maidenhair ferns, various mushrooms that can be found in Forest Park and some small critters including ladybugs, bees, a snail, and a painted lady butterfly. The dark blue background is the shape of Forest Park from the perspective of crossing the St. Johns Bridge.
“It is subtle but I love the idea of the silhouette of the park rising up from St. Johns – a view that may be so regularly seen by the folks in the neighborhood that they sometimes forget to be in awe of the beauty of nature that lies just across the river,” said artist, Alicia Shultz.
Montavilla | Mural by Demecio Sierra
A new mural production for the Montavilla neighborhood was designed, painted, and managed by Demecio “Dre” Sierra (@aerosolsmith), a Portland-based muralist. The mural is a perfect fit for Portland’s Jade District and was inspired by the owner’s Asian heritage. Main mural elements include a white heron bird, a maneki-neko (beckoning or waving cat), bonsai tree, and panda bears sitting in front of a boldly colored sunrise. Demecio invited several friends to help them fill in the rest of the space with highly stylized typography work, making this a collaborative community art project.