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Mural and Facades (6 replies)

What a pleasure to see the attractive renovations along the Smith 
Furniture strip, as one comes into Niles from Mission along Niles 

It's too bad that fresh welcome can't be seen from Mission. 
Instead, as one comes under the bridge, there is trash along the 
curbs and those dreadful boarded up windows on the old commercial 
buildings. May I suggest that the 65 or so businesses along Niles 
Blvd. pitch in $2 a month to hire someone to pick up trash every two 
weeks? Perhaps Niles Main Street or Niles Merchants Association could  coordinate this?

Is there any way the old commercial building facade could be spruced 
up so that the entrance to our town would be inviting? Thousands of 
dollars were spent for the "Niles" sign at Niles Blvd and Mission, 
but look at the view it frames! A decrepit industrial structure! No 
wonder Niles is often referred to as a well-kept secret. There are 
thousands of people traveling along Mission Blvd. everyday who've 
never seen our delightful main street. There isn't even a hint of our 
attractions at that intersection.

Does anyone know what happened to the plans for a mural on that 
building? Does anyone know who to contact for permission to do some 
decorating? I volunteer to be involved in the creation and execution 
of a mural there, if someone can get the ok to do it. Any thoughts on 
any of this? Thank you. Cathy Lyn Harrison, Niles

Posted – 04/15/06 9:49am by Lynn R Slater, updated or replied 04/15/06 9:50am

What a good idea to have a mural painted to add color and energy to our town.  New Niles resident, Michele Fifer, is generously volunteering to paint our sets for "The Wizard of Oz."  Her art work has impressed students and parents alike.  Michele mentioned to me that she would like to do other community work to meet new neighbors and be a part of the community.  She is a licensed artist who owns her own art studio.  If plans are in place, she can be approached to paint a mural.
Posted – 04/15/06 9:49am by Lynn R Slater

The Henkel company has steadfastly refused to allow any "decorations"
of their building. Our best hope is that the facility be developed
someday into residential.

Judy Z
Posted – 04/15/06 9:49am by Lynn R Slater

After I was jarred awake to reality, wearing a puzzled frown,  once again I settled back with my pipe, and dozed slowly back into the dream...smiling again....
 Things were much the same as before, in the lovely little town against the hills, but with more happy people in every scene, working on creating their own unique visions of the world downtown, just like we do with our private homes and gardens...
They were dreamers too, of course, convinced they could make something a little better one small piece at a time. They were planting and painting, restoring old and adding new, and investing time and money, and they were encouraged by seeing each other taking the same risks, doing the same things, each in their own  way.
These people were actually rebuilding a town, and a state of mind, with tens of thousands of small incremental improvements, everywhere.
 And all the while helping each other and their city administrators to take pride and pleasure in each new little success, and establishing a surety that things were more beautiful and more satisfying than ever before.
"Making heals the maker", is another way to say it...
In fact, the main secret to their success was just that.  Then came the  the slow realization among themselves that not just imagination, but empowerment, even on the smallest scales, was the key to making the little changes that add up to  major improvement shifts.
...And this empowerment takes time, and money, and risk, from picking up trash, to buying a building, to going to a meeting..
But somehow they had gotten over this, no one "had to be the first one, in many years",  anymore, Those days had finally passed....
And, I dreamed on... Dirk  
Posted – 04/15/06 9:50am by Lynn R Slater

It may just be the optimist in me...but first a few questions, when was the
last time the Henkle company was approached?
What are the reasons they have steadfastly refused?  Maybe it time to ask
again with a proposal in mind?

Instead of a large mural on the side of the building (a great idea but may
have liability issues,) they might go for creating
some community/public art on the fourteen large boards that span the side of
the building.  We could take the boards down
and have different art projects for each of the boards, with a common theme,
"expressions of Niles" or something similar.
You could have a few different medias on each "billboard" as long as they
blended and worked together as one large piece.
Examples might be a couple of mosaic billboards, several painted billboards
with scenes of Niles or the surrounding landscape.
You could also have artists, kids, and whoever else would be interested,
purchase a tile for a nominal fee, paint the tiles, have them
fired and create a couple of hand painted tile collages depicting Niles.
You could have a bright and colorful billboard saying,
"Welcome To Niles"....

The ideas are many but the key would be to keep it simple and low key.
After the billboards were completed they could be reinstalled
on the side of the building where they originally hung without any damage to
the building.  If they ever decide to tear down the building, it
would be fairly easy to remove the art and move it to another location,
perhaps the plaza or the Art Gallery.  At any rate, it would be an
interesting community project, definitely add some color and intrigue to the
side of that building.

I would be willing to approach the owners of the Henkel building, if people
are interested and think it would be feasible.  What do you

2nd Street
Posted – 04/15/06 9:50am by Lynn R Slater

What you suggest is very do-able and has been needed in the town for a long time. If not at the Henckle site, there are many other possibilities. This town could use a lot more color and life, and anyone who thinks that hurts business is just plain wrong. Displays of pride and unique character in a district attracts and sells!
I remember awhile back there was a proposal similar to yours for the spaces between those windows before they were boarded up, and the theme was to be a filmstrip with the sprocket holes in black and white, above and below the windows, unifying the theme for the length of the building.
At that time I remember the company was receptive, but it was several years ago, maybe Judy is right today, but don't let that stop you from asking, or exploring other venues...
I will tell you how we got those two murals up next to the Nile Cafe on what were graffitti-prone blank walls:
The Lampost Banner program was just getting underway(after two years of sitting empty, kudos to Barry Jennings and his crew), and these two high school brothers had turned in three or four totally beautiful and characterful banners that fetched over 100 dollars apiece at the Wildflower festival banner auction we used to run, when everything else was selling for 10 to 50 bucks.. It was obvious we had some special talent there, and  it was a known quantity and cheap, (I think we paid 500 apiece for those two murals),,,so Main Street offered them a commission, with the property owner's permission. The city, still skeptical, and having little experience, cautiously offered us a "temporary" 6 -month permit to paint and display the work. In hindsight this turned out to be a good approach. After the two paintings were up for awhile, garnering only favorable compliments, and no complaints, Main Street requested the permit to be taken off of temporary status, and gained approval.
This " temporary" method is a good gambit to use with city, artist, property owner, and the public since it protects everyone from getting stuck with something that doesn't wear well. An escape clause if you will, that lowers the committment level at the outset, Later if the work is popular and good, it's fairly easy to aquire permanent status..
Hope this encourages you, Dirk
Posted – 04/15/06 9:50am by Lynn R Slater

 " . . . these two high school students" were/are Ben and Philip Vose.

vickie on 2nd
Posted – 04/15/06 9:50am by Lynn R Slater

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