Here in small-town Redmond people are prone to expressing themselves in all sorts of ways. Most of the adult flag-waving and social media posting creates conflict, while teens feel free to passively flaunt their creativity through clothes and hair. There are plenty of bumper stickers and signs that point the way to political opinion or social change. It's a confusing time. The City of Redmond has managed to take on the mammoth challenge of self-expression with an Art Council that actually inspires art.
The Dry Canyon is a four mile stretch of mixed use areas including ball fields, playgrounds and bike trails. Where the paved trail runs under Highland Avenue (Highway 126) there is a very special art installation.
|Moth and Octopus|
This pedestrian tunnel used to boast some of the worst graffiti in town. After years of beautiful mural paintings being desecrated, then painted over, then tagged again, the Art Council finally decided to let the public have their way with it. They painted the entire tunnel gray and put this message in a small space near one of the entrances:
Authorized area for original street art
All are welcome to paint.
Only paint on interior tunnel walls/ceiling.
Please dispose of trash.
No profanity, tags, advertisements or political artwork.
Keep it clean - this area to be enjoyed by all.
At first there was a lot of gang tagging, inappropriate language and sloppy spray painting, but slowly over time the most thoughtful creations are left alone and seem to multiply. Some are anonymous and some are signed. Professional artistry mixes with young effort and creative explosion. Of course there is still occasional graffiti or inappropriate art, but anything that goes against the guidelines is quickly covered with gray paint by city employee fairies with paintbrushes who seemingly come in the night and create space for new art in its stead. We've seen some beautiful work, of which these are only a few. The beauty of the art installation lies in it's fragility. You never know day to day what will appear. Someday, I'm hoping (or planning?) someone will paint the ceiling black and starry or maybe with a Michaelangelo-type mural. Have I painted in the tunnel, you ask? Have you?