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Fantasy Art and Comics: The Framemakers commemorates Downtown Waterville Maine's revitalization effort with a public art mural

Framing a City

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And you thought Centura didn't give an F. Here she is in my famous downtown Waterville Maine mural design found on the Concourse side of The Framemakers. The project was completely official with grant funding and took two months to paint while I still tended to my day job.

In 2014-15, the notion of public art was all the rage here in downtown with the debut of Waterville Creates. That might have been a fad, though, as countless meetings, surveys, and pointless chatter about cultural planning fizzled under the notion that the organization was run like a private club rather than an inclusive public arts outlet. So having seen enough wheel spinning, I got down to business and gave The Framemakers and part of downtown a much-needed touch-up.

Waterville
This is what I had to work with.

This mural design required three criteria for optimum impact to its location, its time in history, and the legacy of the artist. First it needed to represent the Framemakers. Secondly it needed to depict Colby's revitalization effort across Downtown. Thirdly it needed to be recognizable and true to my artistic style because I love the ladies. What I came up with was Centura in stylish modern downtown ensemble with a tape measure in hand. A silhouette of Main Street's iconic buildings lines the background. Framemakers is the fourth storefront window from the left. The magenta F is a dynamic, 3D version of the Framemakers logo with gold fillet. That, combined with the tape measure, represents our shop. The tape measure doubles as a planning device for the City's current renovation plan. The cityscape and water inside the F represent Waterville. City branding is also used in the top-left corner.

Big F
That's a big F!

During production, public reception was 100% positive and unanimous: downtown and especially the Concourse, with its world-famous back-to-back dollar stores, really benefited from the splash of color that Centura provides. Mayor Nick Isgro, too, stated after one city council meeting that he enjoyed the project, so it's good to have him as a fan. Only the sexy people can appreciate the addition of Centura to the neighboring Silver Street Tavern sign and 18 Below mermaid who both historically grace the area with artistic nudity— or porn if you're a snowflake. Yet Centura is well dressed because publicly I do keep nudity, bloody men on torture devices, and other images meant for disturbed people to a minimum.

Looking good, Centura
Looking good, Centura!

On September 30, 2016, the mural was finished. Certainly a big improvement over the grimy brick wall and busted-up vent from March. However, local media failed to capitalize on it, which isn't surprising around here and not at all encouraging to other creative pioneers at this important time. Also a bit inconsistent. Colby and Thomas College received two newspaper articles for a Temple Street mural that failed at the planning stage. Those were big announcements but the colleges failed, and today that wall still looks shabby and unwelcoming. I got the job done. All the bad news the paper spreads is a cheap thrill, but the public does need to know about the little improvements that happen, too.

Framemakers mural
Only the vent left to do.

Pictures of the mural were taken by Colby folks presumably for the Harvest in the Square fest to announce the latest in Colby's revitalization effort, big money investments, and a bunch of other cheerleading. Nothing about current business owners proving their worth in their own microcosms, sacrificing relatively substantial amounts of time and personal savings to make something nice for their city in the hopes of encouraging change. Centura was absent from the slide show probably because the other shots weren't sexy enough. They also forgot to tell us about the importance of pizza places dominating over established art stores because door-to-door restaurants and bars are more of a cultural draw. (I can't wait to travel to Iceland because they have food there.) With any luck Waterville will earn its business-friendly certification soon. Maybe in three years from now.

October 11, 2017 update: Check this out! Rapper Devin Ross performs alongside Centura in his music video for Windsor State of Mind. How cool is that?