The SNOW Block Alley, named because of its location Slightly North of Washington school is unveiling its new mural by North End resident, and full time professional artist, Katherine Shaughnessy. 2020 marks the 5th anniversary for the alley between Lemp and Heron and 15th and 16th that transformed weeds, junk and a dusty road into a vertical, edible garden now lined with trellises, raised beds, and rain barrels; espaliered fruit trees, berries, and tomatoes. With people spending more time at home, the alley has been a welcome extension of backyards and offers the grounding feeling of community.
“A mural was always part of the vision from the start for the alley-facing side of one of the garages. This structure sits right on the property line so these neighbors weren’t able to participate in the gardening aspect of the project,” says Linda Whittig, co-creator of the project with her husband, Devin Koski. “We are lucky to get Shaughnessy. As a muralist, she’s seen a dramatic decrease in commissioned pieces due to COVID which made her more accessible than she normally would have been for such a project.”
The balsamroot in the Boise foothills serves as inspiration for Shaughnessy’s design. “I think of my murals as wall paintings or drawings and the SNOW Block Alley mural is no different. I painted it with lots of detail and hope that seeing this bright yellow wildflower in a super large format helps the viewer to memorize its distinct characteristics so they can easily recognize it in the wild. And maybe even remember its name, Arrowleaf Balsam Root or Balsamorhiza sagittata,” says Shaughnessy.
The project is partially funded by a FINE grant from the North End Neighborhood Association (NENA). The community is also doing fundraising through Venmo (@Snow-block) to help offer financial support to the artist.
Unveiling is Wednesday 8/5, 6-8pm. COVID precautions: Please enter from the north end of the alley and exit through south end. Visitors are encouraged to wear a mask and adhere to social distancing standards.
Previously announced here