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Butler Downtown, Art Center plan street art painting events

July 7, 2020 Digital Media Exclusive

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This art piece which based around a pipe coming out the side of a building on Main Street in Butler is part of an ongoing poetry contest held by the Art Center and Butler Downtown. The arts center is planning for more small art projects like this that will pop up around downtown Butler over the next few months as part of the organizations’ Street Art Paint Night event, which is separate from the poetry contest.

The sewer grate in the sidewalk in front of the former Ruffles and Truffles on South Main Street in Butler will soon look as though a sea creature is crawling out from underneath it.

“We're calling it 'pop-up street art' (and) taking ordinary objects and bringing them to life with art,” said Jeff Geibel, chairman of Butler Downtown's design committee. “We're just encouraging people to come out and cheer the artist on. It's something fun to help motivate them to do a nice job.”

The project and another up Main Street will be among the first pop-up street artworks being done in a collaboration between Butler Downtown and the Art Center in Butler. Butler Downtown encourages residents to come out and cheer on volunteer artists from the Art Center during the project's first installment Wednesday evening.

Beginning at 5 p.m., artists will go to work on the sidewalk in front of the former Ruffles and Truffles, located at 115 S. Main St., and on the lower storefront of Sir Speedy, located at 229 S. Main St.

The creations are expected to be completed in one session and the goal is to have one street art event each month at various locations in downtown Butler, Geibel said.

Butler Downtown works with property owners to develop a concept for the art and secure permission to use their premises, and artists from the Art Center will turn the concepts into artwork.

The organization has already started working with property owners for art projects in August.

“We're hoping to do one paint night a month with one or two projects,” Geibel said.

Butler Downtown calls the event Street Art Paint Night and posts the locations on its Facebook page.

Locating all the completed art pieces could be another activity, according to Geibel.

“If we get enough done, maybe we'll do a scavenger hunt. It would be fun,” Geibel said.

The Sir Speedy storefront will look like a family of mice is living there, said Stephen Haley, Art Center gallery director.

Artists will paint small projects and not large murals, he said.

Other upcoming projects are painting mountain climbers scaling a pole outside of a building, making a manhole cover look like an Oreo cookie and painting an exhaust pipe protruding from another building to make it look like a saxophone, Haley said.

He said nine projects are being planned and the next public painting projects will take place Aug. 12. The goal is to complete two per event and finish all nine in the next four months before cold weather sets in.

“We have about four good months left,” Haley said.

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