Monday, May 31, 2010

Des Moines Mural to Honor Aging

Artist Chandelle Anderson with her blank canvas

Story and photo by Nancy Wright

Following the official signing of a contract with the City of Des Moines on May 26, artist Chandelle Anderson is set to begin creating a wall mural within the next two weeks on South 219th Street between Marine View Drive and 7th Avenue South.

It is the culmination of an almost four-year effort by the Des Moines Arts Commission to secure a site for a public art project to honor aging through grants from the Legacy Foundation. The long search for a suitable site met several roadblocks, but the present site received wide approval with its southern exposure and central location. Part of the complex, which includes QFC, is owned by David Yee. The wall is currently painted white, and Anderson’s 12 x 37 foot mural will cover most of it.

The mural depicts a contemporary vision of the elderly interacting with young people in a variety of simple tasks, portraying wisdom and self fulfillment, passing from one generation to the next. The setting is a realistic outdoor scene, by the water on a summer evening. Working in high pigment acrylic resistant to UV rays and primed with two coats of primer and three coats of varnish, the mural should last many years, Anderson said. She’ll be working on scaffolding and a scissors lift during the painting, which should be complete in less than 6 weeks, weather permitting.

“If people stop by at the beginning and see lots of bright red and hot pink colors, they shouldn’t be concerned,” Anderson said. “It’s just underpainting.”

Anderson graduated summa cum laude in 2005 with a bachelor of arts degree in painting from Minnesota State University, and has won a number of awards. Her sketches and vision received unanimous approval from the arts commission in a “blind” viewing of entries, said Nic Lind, who handled the details for the Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department.

This won’t be her first mural-painting experience. Last summer she was invited back to her home town of Huron, South Dakota, where she painted a 20 x 180 mural as part of a historic restoration project. In fact, she said, she loved DesMoines at first sight. “I connected emotionally with DesMoines at once. It’s a lot like home.”

Over the past four years, The Legacy Foundation has donated $10,000 for this public art project, said Nancy Stephan, who led the project for the commission’s visual arts committee, which also included Anita Corby, Katherine Caughey, Cora Morrison and Clark Snure.

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