Corvallis resident Jennifer Moreland and her husband took a road trip to Los Angeles last year. Moreland was inspired by the murals in the city. She took a photo in front of one with wings. Then posted it on Facebook. This led to an art project of her own.
“Someone dared me to have something like that in Corvallis. And I said, ‘Dare on.’ And came back and did it,” Moreland said. “And I think it adds color and vibrancy to Corvallis.”
Today, Corvallis has its own set of wings. It’s painted on a wall behind Crow Bar, which Moreland calls art alley because the wings are accompanied by a few other murals.
“The wings mural I believe is the most photographed place in Corvallis right now,” she said. “It’s unbelievable how many pictures are people’s profile pictures when you look through Facebook.”
And a few blocks from the wings and art alley, you can find even more murals. Moreland leads me to an Oddfellows-themed one.
“One of the things that I like about the mural project is that it’s not always in a highly visible area,” Moreland said, as we walked down an alley, with water on the ground and dumpsters beside us. “It’s hidden in an off the beaten path kind of space. Somewhere you’d least expect to find art.”
Moreland says she needs three things to see each project through. A wall, an artist, and a sponsor to pay the artists and for supplies. I spoke with Erica Greminger as she worked on the latest mural addition on Third Street, between Jefferson and Adams avenues.
“I was born and raised in Arizona and moved up to Corvallis about 14 years ago,” Greminger said. “I currently am a sign artist at Trader Joe’s.”
One day Moreland was shopping at the store and saw Greminger’s work. She says she was so impressed that she asked about the artist. She sought her out. Greminger says she was aware of the mural project before becoming part of it.
“I’ve been following it actually on Instagram. I’ve seen them in person as well,” she said. “And I’ve been super impressed so it’s super cool that it all came together and she found me.”
The centerpiece of Greminger’s mural is a blue heron and it is surrounded by other symbols that represent Corvallis. There’s the numbers, ‘five-four-one,’ Corvallis’ area code. There’s also clouds and a tree stump. Greminger says she wants her work to bring people happiness.
“And I want them to just pause and look at it,” Greminger said. “And just take a moment out of their day to relax and enjoy a piece of art then go about their day otherwise.”
Thinking about 2018 and beyond, Jennifer Moreland plans to keep adding color to walls in Corvallis.
“My hope is to have at least one new mural painted every year,” she added. “That is my own personal goal. But every time we paint one, it seems to kind of spring two more.”
The Corvallis Mural Project recently released an interactive website and map for people to go on self-guided tours of the murals with their cell phones.
“They’re fun to find,” she said. “There’s a bunch of them and each one is completely different so it’s worth the trip.”