Talent will get its third mural

TALENT — The city will get its third mural, but the process of getting approval from City Council needs to be examined, according to the artist who created the project and the city’s Public Arts Committee.{br class="hardreturn" /}
Council earlier this month approved installation of a 27-foot-long, two-and-a-half foot tall mosaic-tile mural on the side of The Grotto pizza parlor at 302 W. Main St. The mural depicts horses at Equamore horse rescue in Ashland. The Arts Committee recommended the installation.{br class="hardreturn" /}
Mural creator Karen Rycheck and Arts Committee member Ron Hodgdon both told the council they would like to see development of a separate city code to cover public art installations, rather than running each project through City Council for exceptions under the sign code.{br class="hardreturn" /}
“There should be a separate permit for public art, different requirements than there are for signage,” Rycheck told the Mail Tribune. “We have been struggling for more than three years to get those created. They are just sort of going around it. ”{br class="hardreturn" /}
Rycheck was part of a Ford Leadership Institute program that approached the city in 2011 about installing a mural, which wasn’t legal at the time. Rather than create a public art code, council approved a change to the sign ordinance that requires the council to approve or deny each installation.{br class="hardreturn" /}
“We are hoping to put simple standards together. We need to determine a boundary between public art and signage,” said Hodgdon.{br class="hardreturn" /}
City Council recommended that the Arts Committee work with the Planning Commission and Community Development Department on creation of a separate code.{br class="hardreturn" /}
“We are hoping that the city will give us some direction, they are asking us for some direction,” said Hodgdon.{br class="hardreturn" /}
Several issues need to be addressed, said Hodgdon, such as how to attach panels to buildings, how to make free-standing sculptures safe and how to treat suspended objects.{br class="hardreturn" /}
Rycheck said her design was partially inspired by Grotto owner Anna Clay, who donates proceeds from events at the business to animal aid organizations such as Equamore, Sanctuary One and Friends of the Animal Shelter.{br class="hardreturn" /}
Handmade tiles will be placed on nine three-foot-wide panels that will be attached to the building. Donor names will be worked into the tiles that make up the horse figures, but won’t distract from the mural, said Rycheck.{br class="hardreturn" /}
Haines Philanthropic Foundation of Ashland has awarded a $4,000 grant toward the mural project to fund some design work, printing and preliminary aspects prior to construction.{br class="hardreturn" /}
Rycheck has launched a crowd-funding effort to cover other mural expenses at www.indiegogo.com/projects/pony-up-for-talent-public-art.{br class="hardreturn" /}
Rycheck also created the town’s first mural, installed in 2012 on a building that faces Talent Avenue, which uses painted panels depicting the city and surrounding area. More than 50 community members helped paint panels, and Rycheck plans to involve the community in her new project, as well.{br class="hardreturn" /}
A second mural was painted on the Downtowne Coffee Shop. Hodgdon said no other murals are proposed at this time.{br class="hardreturn" /}
Reach freelance writer Tony Boom at tboomwriter@gmail.com.{br class="hardreturn" /}

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