Mural depicts East Central neighbors
A mural with more than 140 life-sized and larger than life-sized figures of East Spokane people representing the past, present and future was dedicated on Saturday, Sept. 23.
After two years of discussions with Terrain about having a mural to celebrate the diversity of the community, the East Central Spokane neighborhood decided to locate it on the side of the new Carl Maxey Center at 3114 E. 5th. Terrain secured an $80,000 grant for the project.
Photographs were taken of individuals and families, particularly at the Spokane Eastside Reunion Association (SERA) back-to-school event where children and families came for shoes and supplies.
Photos of people represent the community's diversity, not only racially but also in generations.
Aretha Sconiers, housing evictions specialist at the Carl Maxey Center, said the background images include sights from the neighborhood, like Calvary Baptist Church and a swing at Underhill Park.
"Our goal is to bring vibrance back to the community," she said, adding that there is space on the wall for 250 images, so more will be added.
Rev. Amos Atkinson, the black business/workforce program coordinator, said the vision was for the East Central neighborhood to claim what rightfully belongs to it—equality, justice, respect, empowerment and vitality.
Dr. Shari Williams-Clark, executive director of the Carl Maxey Center, added that it's "affirming for the community to see themselves and their beauty, and the beauty of so many black and diverse faces in this multicultural community. It gives us hope."
Artist Carl Richardson, an art instructor at Spokane Falls Community College, worked with Reinaldo Gil Zambrano of Gonzaga University's art department to print the photographs and plan their placement. Both painted the design on the east side of the building.
"We rolled an acrylic medium on the back of the photos as a gluing agent and to protect them from the elements," Carl said.
They placed them on the wall and will cover them with anti-graffiti, a medium that will also protect them from UV rays.
"I hope the mural will help change attitudes about what is happening in East Central Spokane," Shari said.
The mural covers auto sales signs to establish the building's identity. The Carl Maxey Center offers a one-stop-shop for wrap-around services to help people find jobs, prevent evictions, start and support black businesses and move out of homelessness.