|TwentyAfterFour mural, by Dylan Kauz and Capsel Rock|
With the recent influx of new businesses to downtown Springfield, the town is on its way to becoming a destination for culture, or more of a Shelbyville, if you will. And the Second Friday Art Walk, a partnership between the Eugene Storefront Art Project (ESAP), NEDCO and downtown merchants, is central to attracting a more diverse crowd to the Main Street blocks.
Paula Goodbar, spokesperson for the art walk, says there has been an open reception from the town, whose council and merchants are welcoming opportunities for economic development and art tourism. Since its start in 2010, the monthly event brings in 100-300 attendees, with the guided walks attracting the most people. Goodbar finds that there is a mix of Eugene and Springfield residents in attendance, stating she recognizes some of the same faces at the Eugene art walks.
There are between 18 to 20 stops each month. This month, historic homes in the Washburne District will be added to the map. The majority of the stops are right on Main Street, including the Emerald Art Center, the NEDCO office pop-up gallery and the Springfield Museum.
The art walk is an indication that the city is “keeping up” with its neighbor; mingled in with the new pubs that have their own draw, unique specialty stores are catering to vintage and second-hand finds.
One storefront has been attracting attention for months as a block-long mural appeared on South A and 6th St. A graffiti-themed wall of color, created by local artists Dylan Kauz and Capsel Rock, graces the exterior of TwentyAfterFour, and an eclectic mix of imported and local art, clothing, jewelry, instruments and glass can be found inside. Storeowner Travis Shafer says he wanted to bring the vibrant energy of the festival culture to the community. Many people have stopped into the store since its April opening because they were intrigued by the art Shafer thought Springfield needed more of. The shop will serve as a hub for local artists and will be a new destination on the art walk, complete with live glassblowing demonstrations. Shafer identifies with the art walk participants, who he believes are “responding to the contrasts in our environment, and are looking for community and connection.”
Kauz and Rock were commissioned to do the mural with relatively free rein, other than an indication it should be an “enlightening, fun piece that got people to enjoy it.” Kauz noticed there were some murals in the downtown area that indicated an acceptance to large-format art. He estimates the pair put a minimum of 50 hours into the work. Both men are recognized in the music community as “live artists,” who paint during performances to contribute to the feeling of the event. Kauz was glad to add to the visual landscape of Springfield. “It’s bigger than me when I start painting; it’s for the community; it makes other people relate,” he says. “So much of what we see, other than nature, is ad-based and self-promoting. Work like this shifts the landscape.”
Second Friday Artwalk runs 5-8 pm Friday, May 10. Maps can be found at NEDCO and The Emerald Art Center. For more info, find Downtown Springfield Second Friday Art Walk on Facebook.