Color Outside the Lines believes in the power of collaborative public art projects to help to unify, beautify and heal communities. One of our missions as an organization is take art outside of a classroom, and have youth and marginalized communities, act as primary artists in public mural creations, alongside local artists.
These projects teach youth about the process of large-scale artistic installations and the value of caring for their neighborhoods. By having the mural be created with a paint-by-number style, the wall is completed by looking like it was carefully created fully by a professional mural artist and is left for the community to admire and enjoy.
Talking Walls and Storytelling Highlighting Native American Artists and Culture -
Color Outside the Lines' most recent mural project came to life over the weekend of Feb 21st. This project featured three incredible Native American artists who live in the Pacific Northwest, alongside youth we serve from the Native American Youth Association as well as from the community at Greenway Park in Beaverton, OR.
This project created "Talking Walls", which is collaborative mural art that tells a story rooted from the artist’s heritage and culture. This specific series is meant to celebrate the Native culture, while sharing traditional art and storytelling with youth and the community. This project was geared at honoring the meaningful Native American heritage that can serve any community member regardless of their cultural background or racial identity. This event aimed to connect youth and artists of similar backgrounds to have an opportunity to share conversation, creativity and lessons of their shared heritage. This project was held in partnership with the Tualatin Hills Park and Rec District.
We offered art kit bags, and other art activities to the youth who participated. Along with the murals, we created spirit sticks, and painted rocks that will go in the message garden at the park.
Each artist shared a background story that accompanied their art which was told to the youth at the event. These stories will be written on a plaque and installed next to the paintings so the community can visit these pieces and learn about the meaning behind the vibrant pieces. This art will be up for years to come so the public can enjoy the installation and stories behind them.
Here is a brief overview of the artists and the stories that accompany their amazing designs -
Rudy RedStone Serna is originally from the Huichol and Guachichile Tribes of Mexico and now lives in Portland, Or.
The mural as a whole is meant to honor and respect the ancestors of the americas by sharing some elements of their diverse and yet common culture. From right to left - The South American condor flies towards the center. The patterns in the background are both Inca and Mayan. The pyramid below is from the Guatemalan lowlands and next to it is the quetzal bird flying upward. Next is a Mexica symbol for corn and the pattern behind the tree of life is Aztec. Next is a teepee and in the middle a buffalo skull. Up above is a Chinook basket pattern and next to it is a Kalapuya one. next to the skull are evergreens that become the Columbia gorge and a salmon with an Inuit design splashes out of the water. On the right side the American bald eagle flies towards the center to meet the condor. And in the bottom right corner is a lone wolf howling.
Pattrick Price was born and raised in Southeast Alaska. Kaá Yaán Uk, is Tlingit tribe from the islands and fjords of southeast Alaska. His style of art reflects that as a painter, muralist, and Native American storyteller who lives in Eugene Oregon. Sunset Hummingbird. This painting depicts a brilliant, multi- colored, form line designed hummingbird with an arching red, orange, and yellow gradient background.
In native American culture, hummingbirds are seen as healers and bringers of love, good luck, and joy. The hummingbird totem has been used in my culture throughout history to teach us to enjoy life, and to keep ourselves light and free. This painting is my depiction of the original form line designs from my Southeast Alaska/Tlingit heritage with warm and colorful inspirations from my residence in Oregon in the fall season.
Toma Villa is a muralist, painter, carver, and sculptor from the Yakama Nation, who currently resides north of Seattle. His piece is a large painting for an elk riding on the back of a sturgeon.
The story behind his piece is - It's about Elk and how he wonders the land and over and over again he makes his way back to the Big River and looks across to the other side. He looks into the water and sees all the salmon swimming and thinks he can walk across on their backs but his hoofs keep sliding off and he falls into the water. Sturgeon sees this and swims up and asks Elk what he's doing. Elk replies “I've seen everything on this side of the river, I want to see what's on the other side”. Sturgeon Elk that she could get him across on her back but he needed something from Elk for the ride across the river. Elk pulls a piece of himself and gives it to Sturgeon and the big fish puts it in her mouth. Elk climbs on his back and doesn't fall off because Sturgeon's skin is rough. So Sturgeon with Elk on her back began swimming across the river and as she swam that piece of Elk that was in her mouth became her cheeks. Elk made it across and was able to continue exploring and Sturgeon now has stronger mussels to help her feed more on the freshwater clams she so dearly loves.
You Belong Here Mural Series with the Black Student Union and BIPOC artists -
October 2020 - This day was held to facilitate a day of art making and conversation about race and belonging with the Sunset Black Student Union and four amazing black artists at Tualatin Hills and Park and Rec.
This project brought BIPOC youth and artists together to create meaningful public art through a “talking wall” murals that tell a story. The youth painted black fists that spell “I have a dream” on the park fence, painted rocks for the listening garden, created colorful chalk art, and participated in painting murals alongside four incredible local Portland artists to help them to create art that will be up for the next year. This was a special project for us, as we got to work with the Sunset Black Student Union for several months planning and producing the event, giving the students a chance to learn about how to make an event come to life from start to finish.
Black Lives Matter Open Eye Art Mural -
Never underestimate the power of a small person with a big dream. This mural collaboration was done with the amazing artists Open Eye Art in downtown Portland, alongside several groups of the youth we serve. This mural was installed to bring color to a part of the city that had been boarded up due to BLM protests and unrest. The art was created to support of the message of Black Lives Matter movement; while bringing a diverse group of youth, community and artists together to beautify the city. Colorful designs with empowering words about hope and compassion were created in the midst of a location which was the center of unrest in Portland due to the murder of George Floyd. To this day (knock on wood), these murals remain free from graffiti, we hope it is due to the message the art conveys. If you’re in Portland, check it out on the corner of 4th and SW Alder.
Find your words - with Kendrick Lamar and Rather Severe
This Color Outside the Lines mural collaboration was with the grammy award winning rapper and artist Kendrick Lamar, which was part of findyourwords.org, a campaign to help youth fight the stigma of depression and anxiety.
This project is meant to help young people deal with breaking the stigma of depression by using their words, and feeling supported through the challenges. Recent studies show that almost twice as many more young people suffer from depression and anxiety as twenty years ago, and it is important we find tools to help these youth navigate their way through challenging times. This mural project was spearheaded by LA based Branded Arts in collaboration with Kendrick Lamar, who chose the words for the mural, "I Gave Myself Time". This sage advice for anyone of any age is dealing with hardships in life.
Twenty foster youth with Color Outside Lines, were honored to come and paint this large scale mural in collaboration with the amazing local Portland artists Rather Severe. You can check it out on the corner of Broadway and Wiedler in Portland!
Debuti Art Mural in San Francisco
This was our first mural project in California, located in the tenderloin district of San Francisco. Several groups of youth, primarily who are in foster care or inner-city outreach programs, were focused and talented contributing artists in creating this detailed mural. They did an amazing job at “coloring inside the lines” this time, with a paint by numbers process. It was an honor for them all to work and learn from the designers and amazingly talented artist duo, originally from Spain, who go by Debuti Art. (https://www.debuti.art/)
This project took true focus and patience, and taught the youth involved an incredible amount about how large scale art is created, while helping them to feel as though they left a mark on making a tough inner-city neighborhood more colorful and welcoming. Thank you to all the amazing volunteers that helped the youth, although they didn’t need much, and especially to Debuti Art, who were the real brains behind this amazing piece. The artists made the project so easy and fun for the youth to feel as though they were true artistic contributors. If you’re in the Bay, go check it out on the corner of 6th and Mission.
Lloyd Eco District Intersection Mural -
This intersection mural was in partnership with the Lloyd Eco District, which works to keep the Lloyd district in Portland renovated and colorful. Around 25 youth that we serve, got to come play with colors on a beautiful summer day in August to make an otherwise drab corner much more fun and lively. This project was designed by our friends and amazing local artists Rather Severe.
It can be seen on the corner of Clackamas and NE 2nd in Portland.