Restaurants around the Roaring Fork Valley have expanded outdoor seating due to the pandemic. In Old Town Basalt and along a strip in Willits, those new makeshift patios are enclosed by concrete barriers to keep diners from spilling into the street and surrounding parking lot.
The Basalt Public Arts Commission (BPAC) saw those blank canvases as an opportunity for a new public arts project, and a way to put artists back to work that have been hit economically by COVID-19. BPAC put out a call to Roaring Fork Valley artists to create a line of colorful murals along the makeshift fencing as part of its Concrete Barriers Art Project.
"I have definitely slowed down since March," said Roaring Fork Valley artist Lindsay Jones. "It was a great project to put me to work and be able to show my local community something new and fun that I can create."
Jones—a freelance illustrator, animator and graphic designer—and 6 other local artists were tapped for the project, and the Town of Basalt funded the art barriers.
"I hope that it just gives people something cheerful," said Jones of her piece of the public art project. "When I see an artist's work that really resonates with me, it's super exciting, and I hope that's what other people are getting from this."
BPAC members said the program would give financial relief to local artists, and add a colorful new public art installation around town.