In 2018, Tim Gibson, an artist from Pennsylvania, embarked on a mission. He converted a small bus into a traveling home and set out with one goal: to paint more than 10,000 flowers in the United States. But this isn’t a solo project. In every town Gibson visits, he calls for the community to come out and help him. Gibson sets up a mural, outlines the flowers, and allows everyone to join in to paint them. Each mural features a jigsaw effect, creating one singular painting stretching across the country.
On Sept. 25, Gibson held his community painting event at Kaisy’s Delights in Lewes. Stretched along the back wall was the rough sketch of flowers, with Gibson and anyone who wanted to help filling them in. The Lewes edition of the Ten Thousand Flowers Project is the 22nd part of his East Coast tour, stretching across 15 states. Eventually, he plans on creating approximately 200 murals in the country, however many towns it takes to get to the 10,000 goal.
The project is not for personal promotion, though. Gibson set up the idea for locals to get together and to spread creativity. He said, “The idea is to bring communities together and to bring art to people who usually don’t get to do it. To get people out here painting who say, ‘I’ve never done anything artistic in my life,’ that’s the best part.”
As to why he chose flowers specifically, Gibson said “They’re simple, and anyone can help paint them, but it’s really that you can’t look at them and not smile.”
Gibson has put all his energy into this project. He lives out of his bus, and raises funds through donations and merchandise sales. He travels to each town without a set place in mind, looks around, reaches out to contacts, and eventually finds a wall to paint. He didn’t have much trouble finding a willing place in Lewes, though. When he saw Kaisy’s Delights, he knew the color scheme and location were perfect. He reached out to Kaisy’s Delights co-owner Nathalie Langer, and she was excited to allow it.
Langer spoke of meeting with Gibson and green-lighting the project. She said, “I liked his idea and bringing together the community, so I said, let’s see what you can do. The painting fits our aesthetic and it is a way to bring the town together. People who’ve never spoken are having conversations and are creating together.”
The public is invited to stop by Kaisy’s Delights and take some time to look at the flowers. They weren’t just painted by one artist, but by the community, and they’re helping link the country through artistic creativity.
For more information about the project and donations, visit tenthousandflowersproject.com.