3 more murals to come to U.P.

Pictured is the exterior wall of the former MacDonald’s Music building, located on the corner of Third Street and Ohio Street, to be painted for the Marquette Power of Words Project mural. (Journal photo by Trinity Carey)

MARQUETTE — If you had to choose one word to sum up the Marquette community, what would you choose?

The Power of Words Project, a humanitarian mural campaign in partnership with the Marquette Arts and Culture Center and Be Well LLC, plans to create a mural of one word that defines the city’s vision for the future. The goal is that the word will define and inspire growth and a focus, according to the POWP website.

Words up for vote for Marquette are: wild, connect, balance, inclusive, natural, together, regenerative, health, passion, breathe, kind, authentic, love, sustain and grow.

The Marquette mural will be completed on the exterior of the former MacDonald’s Music store located on the corner of Third and Ohio streets. Owner of the building Kate Lewandowski said she and her husband Christopher Ray have always wanted to put a mural on the wall to add some excitement and vibrancy to the city and the POWP makes it a community-centered event.

“It is a community event. It isn’t just us hiring a private muralist, but it’s something that gets the entire community involved in the process,” Lewandowski said. “Marquette is pretty gray; any way to brighten up our streets and put a smile on someone’s face is worth it.”

Lewandowski reached out to Tiina Harris, manager of the Marquette Arts and Culture Center, who contacted the POWP, which has already completed seven murals throughout the U.P.

“I just thought that the Power of Words Project is unique, it’s a nonprofit and it’s so much more than a mural, it’s the whole intent of the project to involve a community in a mural,” Harris said. “Even the subject of the mural is drawn from the community with that word that’s chosen, so it’s a great opportunity.”

The project is not only an opportunity for the city, but for local artists and youth.

Once a word is chosen, Iron Mountain native and artist Mia Tavonatti will create a team of local artists and art students to help her complete the mural.

“I’m excited that they hire young people and professional artists to help their team and for people in our area to work with such professional muralists, people who have done really large murals, because it’s a mentorship opportunity and a professional development opportunity,” Harris said.

Harris noted some of the great murals the city already has, such as the one on the exterior of the EZ Stop on Wright Street, but the POWP mural would become the largest in Marquette.

Harris said this is the kind of art that locals are asking for and she’s excited about the possibility of having a mural with a positive message on such a prominent wall in the community.

“Third Street has its own unique personality,” Harris said. “I think all the businesses on Third Street have really developed their own style and all of the artists’ studios that are there, the brewery, the photography studio, Zero Degrees Art Gallery. It’s this creative hub and it should feel different, and I think that’s the intent, so I think it would really anchor Third Street more than it is already as a creative hub in the community and be a positive addition to Marquette.”

POWP is asking for $20,000 in donations by June 15 to fund murals to be completed in Manistique in July, Gladstone in August and Marquette in September. Donations will go toward painting materials and supplies, storage and scaffolding, wall varnish and finish, scholarships for students chosen to work on the project, artist fees, etc. Those who make donations can choose which mural project they would like their money to go toward. Funds not designated will be split evenly among the three projects. If the donation goal of $20,000 is reached, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. will match the funds.

To vote for a word or apply to be an artist, visit powerofwordsproject.org. To donate visit www.patronicity.com/project/ the_power_of_words_project#!/

Trinity Carey can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243.