The Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission on Monday chose its preferred location for a new mural from local artist Jason Jones.
The large-scale public art piece will be painted across the west wall of the Executive Square building at the Fayetteville Town Center plaza on the south side of the downtown square.
Jones was one of 23 applicants to request special funding from the commission in April for possible projects and planned festivals. He requested $30,000 to paint a series of three murals in downtown Fayetteville.
The commission agreed to pay $11,250 for one mural, but voted to wait until June to decide on a design and location.
Jones’ work is familiar to the downtown area. He is the same artist who painted a series of insect murals on the metal utility boxes in the gardens of the downtown square. He also painted a “Shop Local” mural on the side of a building along Archibald Yell Boulevard last year.
Jones offered several design options and three potential locations and for his latest work on Monday, including the bridge piers at the Center Street railroad crossing and the nearby David McKee Architect building at 545 W. Center St. Commissioners said they liked each option, but ultimately chose an “Enjoy Local” mural which includes a large tree with colorful flowers growing from its branches to be painted at the Town Center plaza.
Jones said he has approval for the location from the Bradberry family, who owns the building, but said the Bradberrys would have the final say on the design of the artwork.
Commissioner Matt Behrend said the mural would enhance the experience at the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market and First Thursday Fayetteville, and could serve as a backdrop for the many weddings which take place at the Town Center throughout the year.
Behrend said he hopes to see more of Jones’ work around town in the future.
“I think this advertises and promotes Fayetteville at the same time,” Behrend said. “It’s really kind of a way to put a stamp on things and show people that we appreciate the arts as well as the community.”
Commissioner Hannah Withers said she was excited with the group’s choice and is a personal fan of Jones’ work, but said the commission should act quickly to adopt a process for handling future requests for public art funding.
“I’m concerned about what kind of door it’s opening for us to be funding and jurying art,” said Withers. “I want the door to be open, but I think we need to do some leg work on future discussions about how this should work.”
Withers said not all applicants will be skilled, professional artists who fully understand the design and implementation process – as well as the sustainability factors – of a large-scale piece of public art.
If murals are funding by tax dollars, Withers said it’s the commission’s responsibility to make sure the work is done “by people who definitely have the skills and education to do it properly.”
The commission agreed to form a committee comprised of A&P Commissioners, and possibly members of the Fayetteville Arts Council and city staff to explore a system for approving locations and funding for future public art requests.