Color Fest: The City of West Fargo wants YOU to help paint the town
By Sabrina Hornung
On Saturday May 8 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday, at The Yards on Sheyenne street, the city of West Fargo is hosting Color Fest and inviting the public to roll on out and paint the town--and they’re even providing the paint!
After issuing a call for artists willing to lead a large scale mural project on the streets of downtown West Fargo, the city selected proposals from Leigh Nelson of Detroit Lakes, LesleyAnne Buegel of Fargo, and Nicole Gagner of Bismarck to lead a large scale public art project--think of it as a grand “paint by number.”
Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist or are not accustomed to painting murals, rest assured, both Gagner and Nelson are art educators.
The canvas will be the Sheyenne Street intersections from Second Avenue W. to Fourth Avenue W. before they are slated for demolition as part of the city’s ongoing reconstruction project.
When asked how locals are responding to the event after a year of being cooped up due to the pandemic, West Fargo City Planner Morgan Kastner responded, “If you look on the event information on like the city Facebook page, you have a very a lot of unhappy people who think it's a waste of time and resources, and don't understand why we're painting a street that's going to be torn out, it's about bringing the community together and celebrating and helping support businesses downtown because of course, with construction. those businesses start hurting, and then just to kind of start introducing public art to West Fargo.”
Business sponsors even have designated “parking spots” that they will be painting to leave their mark. The event is made possible by grant support courtesy of the Main Street Initiative Vibrancy Grant and donations.
The reconstruction project will also focus on replacing aging infrastructure from Main Avenue W. to Sixth Avenue W. Including improvements to water mains, sanitary and storm sewers, new curbs, gutters, planters, benches etc. With these new additions the city is hoping to make its downtown more pedestrian friendly.
The artists’ proposed designs vary in complexity. Leigh Nelson’s design consists of colorful overlapping circles, which creates a dynamic composition reminiscent of retro floral patterns.
In her submission proposal Nelson stated, “The word ‘concentric’ is defined as denoting circles, arcs, or other shapes which share the same center. The Yards on Sheyenne and this artwork denote entities with shared centers – a place with a revered past and evolving future. Each flower consists of a series of concentric circles, singular entities that are only complete as a harmonious whole – a kinetic pattern of botanical shape and color, eliciting an expressive and synchronous sense of excitement, hope, and vibrancy.”
Buegel’s design had a throwback feel to it as well. Her color palette and subject matter have a light hearted 90s feel to it.
Gagner’s selected submission is an image of a lone hay bale on the plains, her work has an impressionistic quality to it and can be recognized for her expressive mark making.
“I have dabbled in murals since high school, and it's been part of my art practice more seriously after the Art Alley in Bismarck five years ago. This is my first on a street though.” says Gagner, she went on to say, “The hay Bale painting I submitted was one of the first pieces that I painted after moving back to North Dakota that made me realize that the colors of North Dakota skies and fields are a deeply important influence for me. When people unfamiliar with North Dakota assume that the landscapes here must be boring I can smile knowing that they are missing out on sublimely simple beauty, I will keep being inspired by the skies and fields of North Dakota and I will never be bored with the potential of this region. Now that streets are on the table to be used as canvases--literally the sky's the limit!”
Even if you aren’t ready to hit the streets with brush in hand there will be plenty of other activities. The West Fargo Little Red Reading bus will be there, the parks district will have canvases to paint, and Habitat for Humanity has some activities planned too--just to name a few.
Sound Engagement will be providing tunes for the event, a variety of food trucks will be onsite and local makers will be selling their wares as well. Needless to say, local color will be everywhere.
IF YOU GO
Saturday May 8 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The Yards on Sheyenne street, West Fargo
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