An energetic mural will soon be painted on a wall facing the Lewes-to-Georgetown Trail in Lewes.
A black-and-white tagging design proposed by Philadelphia-based artist Kyle Confehr was chosen by the Lewes Public Art Committee after an open call for design proposals.
Confehr has until Sept. 15 to complete the mural, which will be on display for at least 18 months on a side of the former Lewes power plant between the Lewes library and the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal.
Local artist Heidi Lowe has offered to host Confehr during a tour of the Lewes area. Confehr’s plan is to incorporate Lewes images and icons in the mural. He works primarily with acrylic markers and spray paint. In February 2019, he completed a similar mural at the Philadelphia International Airport.
Following the deadline for submissions, the committee invited the public to send comments about designs they liked or disliked. Committee Chair Cliff Diver said those comments were helpful in determining the top three choices.
All entries were graded on creativity, appropriateness, and quality of execution and technique.
“Some entries were more of a billboard design,” Diver said. “Although they were nice images, they didn’t necessarily get us that impact we were looking for.”
The committee wanted a mural that would elicit a response from the public.
“We didn’t feel we were just picking a pretty picture,” he said. “We were trying to orchestrate an event. The event is what happens when a person going down that bike path looks over and sees this image.”
He said the mural has to be strong enough to grab passersby, but it also has to be something that can be taken in quickly because they are likely riding a bicycle, or walking or running down the trail. The audience was also important, he said, as the most likely people to encounter the mural are younger and more active.
“What would a younger person who is moving respond to?” he said. “We were trying to get an impactful moment. They may be jarred a bit, not expecting to see this mural, but also pleasantly entertained or challenged.”
The group used the grading criteria to narrow the entries to three finalists. They then voted on their first, second and third choices.
“We all agreed that any of the top three were acceptable,” Diver said.
Diver anticipates the artist will begin painting the wall the first week of September, and he should be done in a week to 10 days.
In the meantime, Board of Public Works General Manager Darrin Gordon will personally paint the wall with primer. Gordon offered to paint the wall during his free time over the weekend, Diver said.
“We have to give him a big shout-out for doing that,” Diver said.
The project’s budget is $5,000, including the artist fee, supplies, travel expenses, maintenance requirements for 18 months and other associated costs.
All of the artists who submitted applications will retain ownership of their design ideas. The chosen design will become property of the City of Lewes.