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Mural Project Outpaces 20X21 Ahead Of IAAF World Track & Field Championship

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Melorie Begay/KLCC News
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The 20X21EUG Mural Project will surpass its goal of creating 20 art installations in preparation for the 2021 World Track and Field Championships. There are currently 18 murals around Eugene and by the end of next week, there will be 23.

Sidney Waerts is 1 of 5 artists commissioned by the city to work on the 2019 Eugene Walls project, a series of the 20X21EUG Mural Project. Waerts has only been in town for 6 days and he's nearly finished with his mural that he says is 16 x 8 meters, or for non-metric users that's about 60 x 20 ft.

"They told me a little about the history of Eugene, and they said it's rising up and I'm the kind of artist that really wants to find a healthy balance in my work between the complete opposites from each other," Waerts says. This is why he chose a black and white color scheme, he added.

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Credit Melorie Begay
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The young girl in Waerts' mural represents new hope and prosperity. She's also Waerts' daughter.

Although he's from the Netherlands, Waerts says the mural,  named Meesie, isn't Dutch inspired. Instead, he says he aims to reach global audiences because we're all similar, often facing the same problems. 

"The right side comes like a broken down city, with bridges and poles, and it’s kind of on the water. Climate change is also an aspect in it. And it moves toward the kid that's fishing in the water towards new hope and prosperity," he says.

The mural project, led by Eugene's Cultural Services department, started in 2016 in an effort to bring in a mix of international, national, and local artists to create world class murals. The goal is to beautify the city in a way that reflects the city's vibrant community.

With 23 murals close to completion, 20X21EUG Communications Director Debbie Williams-Smith told KLCC they won't know if more will be commissioned next year until after the 2019 Eugene Walls project wraps up.

Melorie Begay is a multimedia journalist for KLCC News. She was the Inaugural KLCC Public Radio Foundation Journalism Fellow. She has a bachelors in Multimedia Journalism from the University of New Mexico. She previously interned at KUNM public radio in Albuquerque, NM and served as a fellow for the online news publication New Mexico In Depth.
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