The people who live in the East Central neighborhood wanted a colorful gateway to their homes.
They got it Saturday when a small army of artists descended on Third and Altamont to paint the freeway underpass.
“It’s just a chance for people to express themselves,” said Jack Phillips, a member of the Spokane Arts Commission, which sponsored the paint-in, along with the East Central Community Center.
Now, the walls lining Altamont under the freeway are decorated with a latex mural of images and characters. Fish, eyeballs, a vase with flowers, ponies, a zombie. They’re all there.
It’s not likely gang members will be able to paint graffiti here anymore.
Mardis Nenno, who said she teaches community college art classes, painted an angular pattern she described as a visual prayer for peace.
“This is an appropriate place to be thinking about not just painting the walls but how art has the power to entertain and to heal,” she said.
Other “People Gallery’s” murals have been put on concrete walls along the railroad viaduct downtown and the retaining walls at the north end of the Maple Street Bridge.
Dave Jones, who lives several blocks from the mural, brought his two children to Saturday’s event. He and his kids helped out on the other murals in town, too, he said.
“I like to paint,” said Carter Jones, a fourth-grader at Franklin Elementary School.
Her brother, Cooper Jones, 11, said, “We drive through here all the time and we want to make it look better.”
Rene Thompson, a student-teacher at St. Paschal’s Catholic School in the Spokane Valley, brought her two daughters and a classmate to follow their artistic inspirations.
The girls painted renditions of two of the world’s greatest paintings, which they’ve been studying, da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and Van Gogh’s “Self Portrait in a Straw Hat.”
The painters used some 40 gallons of latex paint, donated by United Paint, in a rainbow of colors.
They followed an outline put up by community college art instructor Carl Richardson, and a theme of “One world is enough for all of us” painted in large words above the mural.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 Photos (1 Color)