City to see more murals
Fayetteville commission OKs contract with Justkids
FAYETTEVILLE — The same folks who brought a giant owl to the side of a decrepit building off the square, catching eyes and prompting numerous selfies, will soon create five more murals or installations around town.
The Advertising and Promotion Commission agreed Wednesday to a contract with Justkids, a public art production company most notably associated with the Unexpected Project in Fort Smith. The two-year endeavor produced dozens of murals and installations in the city. Justkids also curated the large owl painted on the side of the old Mountain Inn building at Center Street and College Avenue.
The general terms of the contract would have Justkids hire five artists, at least two of whom would be local, to
create five semi-permanent artworks in yet-to-be determined locations. The artists would work on the pieces all at once from Aug. 17-27, leading up to the Roots Festival.
Justkids will coordinate, organize and supervise the production of the art. Officials with Experience Fayetteville, the city’s tourism bureau, will work with Justkids and property owners to determine where the pieces will go. Experience Fayetteville also will find a hotel to put up the outof-town artists.
In 2015, the commission set aside $100,000 for a public art initiative. The agreement commissioners approved Wednesday would pay Justkids $73,184, although the contract still has to be finalized, said the commission’s attorney Vince Chadick.
“I don’t anticipate that in their final proposal the contract or anything would materially change,” he said. “If it did, we would have to alert (everyone), but I wouldn’t expect that.”
The money from the contract will go to Justkids, who in turn will pay the artists. Chadick said the commission’s bylaws didn’t require a public bidding process.
Executive Director Molly Rawn said she wanted to respect the commission’s 2015 wishes, and Justkids came highly recommended from colleagues in Fort Smith. The commission hired Rawn as executive director last summer. The $100,000 was set aside for the 2016 budget but stayed in the commission’s coffers among staff and personnel changes.
Rawn said she felt using the money for something else, such as Town Center improvements, would have been inappropriate.
“It wouldn’t be in keeping with the spirit of what the commission wanted,” she said.
Commissioner Matt Behrend said he appreciated the pop-up art aspect of the project and how promotion would tie into the Roots Festival.
“I’m happy to see this off the ground and in this phase. That’s kind of exciting,” he said. “We had that conversation, what, two or three years ago? It was exciting then and now it’s all coming to fruition. That’s kind of a cool thing to see happen.”
Justkids will coordinate, organize and supervise the production of the art.