Laramie residents are invited to contribute their own artwork to the city’s public art collection this summer.
Laramie Public Art Coalition is distributing free art kits to anyone in the community as part of a project called the Community Free Wall. Kits contain a blank yard sign, stake, permanent marker and paint. They also include instructions in both English and Spanish.
The next scheduled time for distribution of the kits is during the Downtown Laramie Farmers Market, from 3-7 p.m. July 3. Kits are also available by contacting the coalition at email@example.com.
Laura McDermit, executive director of the coalition, said the Community Free Wall project was inspired by the Laramie Free Wall, a downtown mural wall that’s open to artists in the community to paint what they like or practice their skills.
“We thought it would be a really great idea for the community to be able to talk to their neighbors through artwork,” she said. “It’s an all-ages project that anybody can participate in.”
Artists are encouraged to display their completed work in front of their homes or in their yards. They can also take a picture of the finished product and submit it to an online public collection at laramiepublicart.org/freewall.
“We’re really interested in seeing what the community wants to showcase and create,” McDermit said.
After spending the spring cooped up at home and also confronting societal upheaval, people might appreciate the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings.
“The world is changing so much right now, and I think it’s a really great thing for people to be able to talk to each other through artwork,” she said.
The Laramie Free Wall was added to Laramie’s public art scene about two years ago, in response to artists requesting a space to use as they wish. It’s located in the alley that runs from Custer to Kearney streets between Third and Fourth streets. It includes the north and east sides of a low garage behind an apartment building, with one side facing the alley and the other side facing the parking lot of an adjacent property.
The two walls are low to the ground, allowing for easy access, and artists can access them via parking areas that are adjacent to the alley. Because the wall is free to use, there’s no guarantee how long any piece will remain before it’s covered with new work.
This spring, several artists have used the space to create an impromptu collaborative mural that responds to the COVID-19 pandemic. Artist Meg Thompson Stanton started the project by painting a mask-wearing pronghorn, leaving room in the landscape for additional wildlife. Then she invited a handful of local artists to contribute their own images.
“I think artists are uniquely qualified to respond in all manner of ways and media to colossal and historical events — good and bad,” Thompson Stanton said earlier this spring.
Other artists have contributed a fox, jackrabbit, bumblebee, snow flurry and prairie dogs.