Want to take a tour of all the murals and other street art in the Fayetteville area? A new website that launched recently includes images, an itinerary builder with printable maps, and more info on over 60 works of public art currently visible in the city.
The new site, called FayettevilleStreetArt.com, was created by local resident Kelly Strauch, who said that checking out public art is one of her favorite pastimes.
“I don’t have any specific connection to the street art in Fayetteville (I’m definitely not an artist); I just love street art!” she said. “I really enjoy looking at the street art in other cities when I visit them for the first time, and likewise, my husband and I like to take our out-of-town family around to see the murals of NWA and Fort Smith when they visit us. It’s one of my grandma’s favorite things to do in her visits here.”
She got started with the site, she said, with a list of around 40 murals that she was already aware of. As she started her work compiling photos of them for the site, however, she found others.
Screen capture of the itinerary builder
“I stumbled upon a bunch of new (to me) murals when I went out to photograph the ones on that initial list,” Strauch said. “For example, I knew about the Shop Local robot mural (by Jason Jones) on College Ave, but I had no idea that there are three other murals within 100 yards of that one until I drove over to the Shop Local one to photograph it.”
As of now, the site is up to 60 murals, and is formatted in a way that you can either build an itinerary to experience the murals in-person, or take a virtual tour to check them out online. The in person tour doesn’t include images of the murals, so you if you aren’t familiar with them, you can experience them for the first time in the environment where they exist in the world.
According to the about section of the site, Strauch defines street art included on the site with the following criteria; it must be at least partially visible from the street; it must be painted directly onto a permanent, standing structure (No signs.); it can’t only be the name, logo, or tagline of a business. Having the name or logo of a business somewhere in the mural doesn’t necessarily disqualify it, but there has to be more to the mural than just that; it can’t be on a residential home.
She also said she isn’t including all the electrical box murals around town just because of the sheer volume of them, but she says those who visit the other murals will certainly pass several of them, and they provide nice surprises along the way.
Strauch said putting the site together took about a month. She said she has worked to try and find the artists names for most of the works, but is still missing a few. She’s also had trouble finding titles for all the works, and several of the titles used on the site she has simply assigned using the location of the murals to make them easier to find.
Most of the work and the research for the site, Strauch has done herself, though she did have a bit of help.
“I also have to credit my husband for chauffeuring me around on a couple of my photo excursions — and especially for waking up early so that I could photograph the N. College Avenue mural (by Matt Miller) before traffic in front of it got too busy,” she said.
Strauch said the site is a work in process, and encourages those who know of murals missing from the site to email her with the address.
Mostly, though, she said she hopes the site will encourage others to go out and check out all the interesting work that’s so readily available in Fayetteville.
A section of the Tommy Tropical mural behind Starlight Skatium
“I hope this site helps people to find all of the genuinely cool street art that Fayetteville has to offer,” she said. “Even if you’ve lived here forever, yes, you probably know about the awesome gnomes (by Jason Jones) outside of the Fayetteville Visitors’ Center, but maybe you haven’t yet visited the parking lot of the Starlight Skatium to see the colorful, adorable, and (sometimes) funny details of Tommy Tropical’s mural there.”
After all, with the times we are currently living through, and the isolation we are all facing with the pandemic, checking out some public art is a safe activity that makes for a great excuse to get out of the house.
“I feel like we’re all starting to go a bit stir crazy as we (responsibly) hunker down in the age of COVID-19, especially as the cold weather starts to kick in,” she said. “Taking a local tour of the street art here in town is such a great way to get out of the house, and since you never have to leave your car to do so, social distancing is built right in. I know it’s been a great diversion for me that way, anyway — here’s hoping others derive the same joy from our local murals as I have in the process of creating this site.”