Community-Based Mural Promotes Awareness | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Community-Based Mural Promotes Awareness

Scalehouse mural brightens up a downtown parking garage while conveying an important message about housing and houselessness

If you frequent downtown Bend, you might have seen the new, creative and thought-provoking Scalehouse Gallery mural. Scalehouse Gallery, a contemporary arts center, set out to create a community-based mural centered around prompting a healthy and constructive dialogue around houselessness. The mural was designed and painted by six artists, three of whom are members of the unhoused community.

click to enlarge Community-Based Mural 
Promotes Awareness
Miguel Edwards
The full Scalehouse mural in the Centennial parking garage.

The large colorful mural depicts the progression of someone losing their home. From left to right one sees a woman stepping into her home then getting evicted, illustrated by a "30-day notice" sign on the door. The mural then shows a vibrant and welcoming place for the community, portraying people living peacefully outdoors with images of a tent and a van. The project continues onto a shorter concrete wall with the phrase, "We all have the right to dwell."

"The whole point was to create awareness around our unhoused community and use art and creativity to provoke thought and challenge assumptions that people have around our neighbors," said Lana Bannow, the advancement and operations director at Scalehouse.

According to Bannow, choosing a mural format was intentional, as it's something long-lasting. The art can make people stop and think, while still looking appealing. The mural is painted on a wall in the Centennial parking garage. Originally, the mural was going to be on Franklin Avenue, closer to the Scalehouse Gallery. When those plans fell through a month before its creation, the City of Bend, which funded the project, decided to bring life to the parking garage. City officials wanted the mural to sit in a high-traffic area and the new interior location proved to be a great sheltered spot.

Scalehouse wanted to include houseless individuals in the creation of its mural project, allowing them to drive the concept. The three women were involved in every developmental meeting. Scalehouse wanted them to feel like the mural accurately represented them and their community. "We want to understand what it is that they want the community to know about being houseless," said Bannow.

The project was also handled by three creative leads: Evan Namkung, Allie Stoddard and Marley Weedman.

Stoddard works with the Bend Equity Project, an advocacy group that provides services to those in need. She knew the three support artists from her time working on Hunnell Road every Saturday. The women, who resided at Hunnell Road, all had some form of mural or artistic experience.

While the project's development began a few months prior, once the artists got started, the mural took one week to complete. The houseless artists involved in working on the mural were provided transportation and food each day and were compensated for their time.

About The Author

Julianna LaFollette

Julianna is currently pursuing her Masters in Journalism at NYU. She loves writing local stories about interesting people and events. When she’s not reporting, you can find her cooking, participating in outdoor activities or attempting to keep up with her 90 pound dog, Finn.
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