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Jonathan Williams

We are in a golden age of public art in Astoria.

Public art can dramatically change the ethos of a city. It can brighten up spaces, cause people to discuss the work and think about how art connects a community.

Andie Sterling’s mural along the 13th Street Alleyway, titled ‘Ehkahnam,’ the Chinookian word for story, does just that.

The mural is bright with sweeping blues, greens, purple and orange lines that all connect.

It is an abstract landscape that focuses on the different types of landscapes in Astoria. It features lines that swoop and bend, steep hills and mountains and trees that dot the vistas.

The mural’s colors radiate with a hopeful and light energy. It also has darker blues and greens that remind viewers of the waters that surround our port city and what Astoria is like during the rainy months.

The mural spans the entire alleyway and took three weeks for Sterling and local artists Darren Orange, Stirling Gorsuch and Anna Weber, who helped Sterling, to complete.

Take your time observing the mural and thinking about how it connects and reflects our community. It grows in richness and dynamic power each time you see it.

The project cost $12,500 to fund. It is a worthy and vital project and one that should spur more like it.

Public art can transform cities and show residents the multifaceted cultures, history and traditions that connect and unite a city.

Public art can take a variety of forms: a mural, sculpture, painting, multimedia and installation art.

Local artists are fortunate to have a rich history and landscape to draw from which is seen in many of the city’s parks.

Soon, the Astoria Nordic Heritage Park will join the Garden of Surging Waves as another example of how art can reflect a city’s culture and its people once it secures the remainder of the funding needed for the park.

Celebrating 125 years this summer, the Astoria Regatta Festival is accepting proposals through Aug. 2 for a public waterfront monument. The project has a budget of $20,000. The proposals will be judged on artistic quality and an aesthetic sensibility related to Astoria.

Keep funding public art.

It can show how our city has reinvented itself while staying true to the cultures and traditions it is known for.

It brightens up spaces that were once dark, gets people outside and into urban spaces, contributing to the local economy, and reminds us of what art can do to connect and reflect a city.

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