Skagway Rec Center Mural  Photo by Melinda Munson

By Krizelle Solidum

 The Skagway Recreation Center is directing both a mural art program and a kids’ positive graffiti program in place of the summer camps canceled this year due to COVID-19. The theme of the municipally funded art programs is community.

Artists from different age groups will have the opportunity to paint the newly installed plywood fence around the ice skating rink, while maintaining social distancing.

“We have so many talented people in our town and we wanted to provide a fun way for them to display their talent as well as have the opportunity to earn additional income through the COVID-19 economic crisis,” said Katherine Nelson, director of the recreation center.

Applications for the mural art program are on the recreation center website or are available for pickup outside the skate shed on Main Street between 11th and 13th Ave. Submissions are due by 4 p.m. Friday at City Hall.

 Artists are asked to briefly explain their design and provide a rough sketch as part of their application. Applicants are encouraged to be expressive with their work.

“Put yourself into it a little bit and don’t be afraid to go risky,” said Holley Drake, recreation worker.

The Recreation Board will review the applications and 20 winners will be announced by Aug. 5. All the artwork must be completed by Sept. 30.

Each selected participant will be given an eight-by-four-foot slot on the fence and a $1,000 grant for their completed artwork. The boards will be painted white by the municipality. Artists are responsible for their own paint.

Drake recommends using weatherproof acrylic paint made for outdoor use. If the paint is not waterproof, the art will be coated in a weatherproof coating. Artists are advised to look for colors that will resist fading in sunlight.

While participants are waiting to be selected for the ice rink mural art, the kids’ positive graffiti program is underway. It includes four murals painted by different age groups, inspired by specific quotes.

The 5 to 7 year olds are creating an abstract rainbow, which contains 20 ribbons, inspired by the quote, “Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud,” by the late U.S. poet and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou.

Kids in the 8 to 11 year old group are creating a mural of a garden, inspired by the quote, “To plant a garden, is to believe in tomorrow,” by the late actress and humanitarian Audrey Hepburn.

An abstract landscape of Skagway, painted by the 12 to 14 year age group, is influenced by “what is a city but the people,” said by William Shakespeare.

Lastly, the 15 to 17–year-olds have completed their mural based off of the quote, “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members,” said by the late Coretta Scott King, wife of slain civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. 

“Normally we have summer camps going on, instead we have found fun and creative projects to do with the kids that beautify the space,” said Drake.

Adalia Deach, 14, and Callia Fielding, 15, are two participants of the kids’ positive graffiti program.

Deach and Fielding sketched koi fish on a grid digitally using an iPad. They copied the grid on wood to make sketching and painting easier.

Fielding has recorded a time-lapse of the entire project on her iPhone so their group can watch how their artwork came together in the end.

“It would be cool to come back to Skagway after I graduate and see the good we contributed to the community,” said Deach.