April 30, 2022 — Bayne Gardner has been trying to paint a mural in Florence for a while. On three different occasions, the Eugene artist inquired about painting murals around Florence and always ran into complications.
As residents are aware, public art in the area, as of late, has not been without controversy. Gardner found out the same himself after previously inquiring with the city about doing a mural somewhere in Florence. He unsuccessfully tried a few different avenues and even made a proposal to city council.
Lucky for Gardner and the students at Siuslaw Middle School, with the help of SMS Principal Andy Marohl and the Lane Arts Council, he found a way to make his mark in Florence.
Gardner will spend a few weeks in Florence to paint two murals.
First, the one he is currently working on that is a solo project. Next, Gardner will paint a second mural but that one in cooperation with SMS student artists. The students and Gardner will plan, prepare and paint the mural as a team.
Marohl said the design for the first mural was chosen using input from both staff and students.
“We asked what themes, imagery or elements represent our middle school,” explained Marohl. “A common theme amongst staff was that middle school is about transitions. Kids come in from elementary school as children and then we send them to high school, their last years of public education.”
Along with the theme of transitions, lots of input on local imagery was received. All this input was given to Gardner and that’s where his design came from.
“It starts with new growth, a chanterelle mushroom at the bottom, then moves to rhododendrons flowers then eventually all the way to the coastline with the sunset behind our lighthouse,” Marohl said. “The idea of transitioning from elementary school to high school gets carried through in the imagery.”
Gardner expects the current piece of art to take about 80 hours to complete. Then he will move on to the student project.
Considering he’s been working from dawn till dusk the last few days, it won’t be long until middle schoolers in Florence will be shooting hoops just a few feet away from a spectacular mural depicting local flora and fauna. After that, SMS students will get a chance to join in the fun themselves.
Learn more at lanearts.org.