Heidi Zemach for SCN-
Hidden treasures are sometimes the best. The next mural, the Obihiro Friendship Mural, which visitors from Seward’s sister city will be coming here in September to create, may be a little more difficult to find than most are. But folks driving into town from Lowell Point may see this bright gem on the southern wall of the K.M. Rae U.A. F. Marine Science Building.
After careful consideration, the six Seward Mural Society members who met together last Friday afternoon at the Resurrect Arts Coffee House and Gallery, chose the Rae Building’s southernmost wall, with its large green lawn stretching out in front of it as their top preference for its placement. Other choices taking second and third places were the northern wall, which would receive greater weather exposure, and couldn’t be viewed from Third Avenue, or a freestanding mural, angled slightly more to the east on the southern end of the building, which would also be more out in the weather, and would cost more to mount.
The mural could be complimented by adding a picnic table or placing a vegetable garden in front of it, they said.
The mural society will play host to perhaps as many as 10-12 Japanese artists September 5-15th as part of a mutual mural exchange, sponsored by the City of Seward. A Seward artist’s delegation visited Obihiro last year and painted a mural designed by Justine Pechuzal for that city. It now stands in a park in front of the city zoo.
The society also decided Friday that the new mural to be painted at the 2014 Seward Music and Arts Festival September 26-28th will be a small one already designed and ready to go by master muralist Jennifer Headtke. It will replace the third mural on the wall of the Ranting Raven building known as “Fog Woman,” which has deteriorated. The image will be different, but it will reflect the same raven myth as the existing one, Headtke said.
They needed a simple mural for this year’s festival because of all the work they anticipate needing for the upcoming Obihiro visit, which ends 10 days before the music festival begins. As members of the Seward Arts Council, they’re also helping plan its annual fundraiser dinner in September, and are looking at inviting the Taiko Drummers from Anchorage to entertain the Japanese delegation and arts council members.
Meanwhile, the two small size fish-related murals painted last September at the 2013 Music and Arts Festival, are in the final stages of being protected, and will soon be ready to be mounted. Kwagsook Schafermeyer’s salmon mural will go up on a building of the city’s own choosing. Jules Wolfes’ “Caught in Seward” mural, will be mounted on the south wall of the J-Dock building by its owners.
Seward Mariner’s Memorial Committee also has solicited ideas from the mural society regarding artwork for their South Harbor Uplands site. They will pursue the idea further.
With dozens of murals to be seen on buildings and businesses throughout downtown, inside the cruise ship terminal, the Seward Library Museum, Seward Chamber of Commerce, and in its schools, Seward has been dubbed the Mural Capital of Alaska. The mural society is doing its best to make the place a cultural attraction for tourists, and many of its members also are involved in helping with other local public art projects such as the First Friday Art Walk Events. They’re hoping more people will join in helping out or attending the Garden Club’s garden walk July 19th, where people visit and take inspiration from local master gardens. That night there will also be a Forest Art Walk at Mile 7, Old Mill Subdivision, featuring outdoor-themed art that one can spot among the trees. With all of the public art and art-related events the town has to offer lately, Seward’s becoming more like Homer, a Kenai Peninsula public art mecca, commented Dot Bardarson appreciatively. “This kind of puts us on the map too,” she said.