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Jan 112018
 

Eureka residents should be feeling proud of what is quietly unfolding right before their eyes.

It is the massive Strategic Arts PlanElectric City Mural already underway that will continue through
2022. Although it really got off the ground this year, the plan had its beginnings 35 years
ago when the Arts and Culture Commission was formed. That helped start a groundswell
of slow but steady activity that has continued unabated through today.
That groundswell of support and movement really kicked into high gear
with city officials and other volunteers after they identified targets of opportunity
in 2012 and an economic development plan followed in 2015. Master
plans for Sequoia Park Zoo and a vacancy rate hotel analysis was initiated in
2016 and a capital improvement plan began on an annual basis in 2017. What
does all this planning mean to you? Well, a lot more art in places you haven’t
seen before, more opportunities to do and experience art, and more revenue for the area.

This year, after a long vetting process, Eureka was officially certified one of 14 Cultural Districts in California. It is in part recognition of the abundant
art and number of artists in our area. The good news is that it also is believed these designated districts will provide cities with access to marketing
resources and more funding for the arts. The certification comes with a $5,000 stipend which is earmarked to be used with matching funds to create
more art commerce.

One of the more high-profile projects you may have noticed is Phase 1 of the Opera Alley revitalization. Two large murals in the alley off G Street
between 2nd and 3rd and a white-washed back side of the Clark Museum along with a temporary fence-photo installation at 3rd and G Street showcases
history and photography artists. These new installations were funded by Kevin Bourque and the Black Fawn Gallery along with the Arcata Arts
Institute and the City of Eureka. British Artists Dan Kitchener and Duncan Jago were commissioned to create two large-scale murals as a pre-cursor to
a mural festival to be held in Eureka at a future date. Kitchener’s Electric City has drawn the most attention given the bright and emotionally vivid street
scene that he says is an amalgam of New York, Tokyo and London. Astonishingly, he free-handed the massive over 50 x 40-foot mural in eight days with spray cans.

Opera Alley
One of the more high-profile projects you may have noticed is Phase 1 of the Opera Alley revitalization. Two large murals in the alley off G Street
between 2nd and 3rd and a white-washed back side of the Clark Museum along with a temporary fence-photo installation at 3rd and G Street showcases
history and photography artists. These new installations were funded by Kevin Bourque and the Black Fawn Gallery along with the Arcata Arts
Institute and the City of Eureka. British Artists Dan Kitchener and Duncan Jago were commissioned to create two large-scale murals as a pre-cursor to
a mural festival to be held in Eureka at a future date. Kitchener’s Electric City has drawn the most attention given the bright and emotionally vivid street
scene that he says is an amalgam of New York, Tokyo and London. Astonishingly, he free-handed the massive over 50 x 40-foot mural in eight days with spray cans.

Phase 2 plans in Opera Alley may include wire sculptures, pedestrian scale lighting, more murals, phantom galleries in vacant storefronts, additional landscaping and even movies projected off an adjacent structure near the historic Buhne building. And there are still more ideas waiting to get implemented.

As city officials stated: the main goals of the plan are  to stimulate use, connectivity, culture, business and safety. Stakeholders want an alley that fosters interaction, encourages local businesses, beautifies Old Town, and expands the core use area beyond E and F Streets. If you’d like to volunteer or just need more information, contact Alanna Powell at 707-499-0379, or Delo Freitas at 707-441-4113.